Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Child Migration and Social Policy Research Group, School of Applied Social Studies, UCC;
Meeting Youth Needs in the 21st Century
The Implementation Plan of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse Report (OMCYA, 2009) and the implications of the dispersal policy for Aged-out Minors and Separated Children
University College Cork
Oral Presentation
Optional Fields

Between 2000 and 2007, there were 5,369 children referred to the HSE as separated children.  In April 2009, 200 separated children were in State care; 90% in hostel accommodation and 10% in foster care (The Implementation Plan, 2009). This paper examines the preliminary findings of qualitative research undertaken with professionals working in the area of separated children, including key NGOs, childcare professionals, immigration officials and refugee support services.


The recent report from the Ombudsman for Children and Young People (2009) critiqued the inadequate number of project workers and social workers supporting separated children in care.  The report describes the stark contrast in the quality of care between the unregistered hostels which accommodated separated children and other registered children¿s residential centres. The Implementation Plan of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse Report (OMCYA, 2009) recommends that all children in the care of the HSE will be allocated a social worker and will be subject to a care plan.  The report also recommends the phasing out of the use of private hostels for separated children and the dispersal of these young people outside of Dublin once they reach 18 and are then termed aged-out minors. Many of these aged-out minors face the uncertainty arising from their lack of citizenship or residency status once they reach eighteen as they no longer have access to the care and protection offered by a Care Order under the Child Care Act 1991.


Some of our research participants have contended that the movement away from hostel accommodation has significant implications for those working with this vulnerable group of children and young people.  Shortcomings of this dispersal policy highlighted by the research participants include the loss of specialised/experienced care staff, peer supports, religious supports, social networks, community based advocacy groups and opportunities for volunteering. Furthermore, it was argued that it would present difficulties in accessing refugee legal services and psychological services which are centralised in Dublin and Cork. It was suggested that the loss of these supports and services might increase the vulnerabilities of some dispersed children and young people to human trafficking.