Minister for Children pledges aftercare plan for children and youths leaving State care

Dr James Reilly says aim is to assist young people in independent living

Minister for Childre Dr James Reilly: said the most important requirements for young people leaving care included continuity of relationships and secure suitable accommodation

Minister for Childre Dr James Reilly: said the most important requirements for young people leaving care included continuity of relationships and secure suitable accommodation

 

A structured aftercare plan for children and young people leaving State care is to become the norm, Minister for Children Dr James Reilly said.

He said the Child Care (Amendment) Bill 2015 clarified and copper-fastened the requirement for an aftercare plan administered by Tusla, the Child and Family Agency: “It puts such planning on the same footing as other statutory obligations on the agency . . . It guarantees that the progress made to date will continue.’’

Dr Reilly said “aftercare’’ was the term used to describe the planning and support put in place to meet the needs of a young person leaving statutory care at 18. It aimed to assist young people in making the transition to independent living, he added.

He said the most important requirements for young people leaving care included continuity of relationships and secure suitable accommodation.

Advice and guidance

Dr Reilly said 450-500 young people left care annually at 18. Overall, of approximately 6,400 children in State care, some 93 per cent were in a foster care family placement. A sizeable number remained living with their foster carers, either full-time or part-time, after they reached 18, he added.

Dr Reilly said the agency supported those aftercare placements by way of a plan, in addition to a support worker and financial assistance. Young people who did not have family support from a foster carer, or a family base, were assisted in finding accommodation and encouraged and supported in furthering training and education.