Donegal Senator Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has said that the questions are growing over the failure of The Child and Family Agency, Tusla, to reopen the supervised residential unit at Knocknamona, Letterkenny for children and young people, the only unit of its kind in Donegal.
The unit has been closed for over a year now.
He was speaking after receiving confirmation that Tusla had advertised for the position of manager for the unit last year and identified a successful candidate but that this position has been placed on hold for months now, pending further instructions from Tusla’s service management in the West region.
Senator Mac Lochlainn said; “This is an extraordinary series of events. Firstly the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) found in 2015 that the unit was not meeting six out of the seven standards required by them. According to reports, Tusla then submitted a plan to address HIQA’s concerns but following a follow up inspection by HIQA at the unit in 2016, Tusla decided to “temporarily” close the unit. At the time, Tusla pointed to the difficulties in finding a replacement manager.
“Over a year later and the unit is still closed. My colleague, Deputy Pearse Doherty and I have raised the closure with Tusla and the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone on a number of occasions. Now Tusla have confirmed that they did indeed advertise for the position of manager of the unit and they have also confirmed that a successful candidate was identified.
“However after what I understand to be nine months later, that person has not taken up their position and the unit remains closed. This is simply unacceptable. This unit is an important component of the entire care offering for vulnerable children and young people in Donegal. Sometimes, a supervised residential unit setting is in the best interests of the child or young person. For over a year this option has been unavailable here in Donegal.
He concluded “I will continue to challenge Tusla on this matter. I will also challenge the Government to give Tusla the overall resources they need to protect and support vulnerable children, young people and their families in Donegal”.Tags: