Dáil Éireann - Volume 475 - 05 March, 1997
Written Answers. - Children in Care.
Mr. O'Donoghue Mr. O'Donoghue
84. Mr. O'Donoghue asked the Minister for Health the number of children who have been placed in care in each of the past ten years; and the average cost per child, differentiating between foster care and residential care, over the same period. [6317/97]
Minister of State at the Department of Health (Mr. Currie) Minister of State at the Department of Health (Mr. Currie)
Minister of State at the Department of Health (Mr. Currie): The most recent year for which official statistics on the number of children in care are available is 1992. Statistics in respect of 1996 are being compiled at present and I will forward these to the Deputy when they are available.
I am therefore providing the Deputy with the following statistics for the years 1982 to 1992. These figures do not include children in day care or day fostering, children living with their mothers in sheltered accommodation or women's refuges or children living at home who are being supervised by the health boards.
Number of Children in Care 1982-1992
*No statistics were collected for the years 1986 and 1987.
I am unable to provide an average costing figure in relation to maintaining a child in care as the cost varies from case to case depending on a number of factors, including the age and needs of the child, the type of placement, whether he or she needs specialist counselling, medical or psychological care and the level of supervised access between the child and his or her parents.
The cost of keeping a child in residential care is considerably greater than the cost of foster care. The main reason for the difference is the cost of employing professionally trained staff to care for children on a twenty-four hour basis.
The Deputy may wish to note there has been a major shift from residential to fostering as the preferred mode of care. Between 1982 and 1992 the percentage of children in foster care increased from 56 per cent to 74 per cent.
Dáil Éireann 475 Written Answers. Children in Care.