One of 20 children at risk over care deficiencies - Ireland

TRACEY FAY, who died following a litany of failures by the state and its agencies, was one of around 20 children at risk at the time because of a lack of secure care.

The 18-year-old died from a overdose of heroin and ecstasy in January 2002. The HSE case review, published by Fine Gael, highlights the missed opportunities after the girl came to the notice of the child protection services when she was just eight months old.

Tracey’s mother put her into the voluntary care of the Eastern Health Board just two weeks short of her 15th birthday. In the first six months of being in care her accommodation arrangements were changed nine times and the report notes that during that period she became “seriously encultured in the out of home scene”. It describes the girl becoming highly sexualised, getting involved in prostitution, being pimped, using heavy drugs, drinking, fighting with residents, assaulting and being verbally abusive to staff.

According to the report, the lack of actual secure accommodation was a major deficit, not just for Tracey, but for some 20 children who at the time had similar care needs. The report describes the residential arrangements made for the teenager as “chaotic”.

The teenager needed supported stable living arrangements with experienced staff supported by relevant expertise, it points out.

“The response provided met some of her needs some of the time and at times provided none of her needs,” the report states.

It blames the multiple accommodation arrangements for the teenager not getting the professional and therapeutic help she needed. In May 1998 a social worker described Tracey as an extremely vulnerable young girl and warned that the care she was receiving was inadequate.

The report describes the extensive use of B&B accommodation between 1998 and 2001 as a very unacceptable feature of the care of Tracey. It notes that Tracey spent a total of 255 nights in 20 different B&Bs. In 2000, she spent a total of 117 nights in 17 different B&Bs.

During 1999, when she was pregnant with her first child, her effective accommodation was intermittent B&Bs.

One file comment described the 16-year-old as poorly clothed for someone so heavily pregnant and living in fear.

“Could someone please tell me how this extremely vulnerable girl is still wandering around with no proper care in her condition,” the writer asked. From the end of 2000, Tracey was accommodated in two dedicated units exclusively for her use, the first of which she had to move out of after eight months when a ceiling fell in. She was moved to an alternative adjacent unit where she lived until her death in 2002. The report details maintenance problems with these units including frozen pipes, blocked toilets, a ceiling that caved in, windows that would not close and a backyard where raw sewage overflowed.

Her second child was born a month before her 18th birthday. Her body was found in a basement flat in Dublin’s inner city by gardaí in January 2002.

The report concludes: “The death of a young adult is harrowing and painful.”

Source : https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/arid-20113642.html

You must be logged in to comment due to spam issues.