Kenny, B. (2000). Policy Briefing 3: Responding to the Needs of Troubled Children: A Critique of High Support and Secure Special Care Provision in Ireland. https://knowledge.barnardos.ie/handle/20.500.13085/859
On an accelerating scale over the past five years children and young people deemed to
be out of control have been coming before the High Court in order to force the State to
meet its constitutional responsibilities towards them. As a consequence the provision of
79 high support and 31 secure unit places is now planned to add to the 44 high support
and 5 secure places currently available. This may be, and presumably is, seen as an
appropriate if belated response to the care needs of these troubled children. However it
begs many questions about the type, quality and extent of our care system for children
and young people and, fundamentally, about how policy and provision is determined.
In spite of the many newspaper reports of the High Court proceedings and the
significance of what is now in the process of being provided for these youngsters — and
indeed the cost - the level of analysis and debate has been remarkably limited. The
circumstances that have led a growing number of children and young people to become
“out of control”, the desirability of health boards having powers of detention, the extent
and cost of the proposed provision and the apparent absence of alternative proposals
have received surprisingly little attention. This policy briefing is an attempt to redress
this and, hopefully, to generate wider discourse on these and other important aspects.
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