herald

Monday 11 December 2017

Agency sorry for litany of failures in care of teen

The sister of a child who died in the care of the State has said he was continually failed by the HSE and by professionals who should have been protecting him.

Danny Talbot (19), who came from a troubled background, died in the summer of 2009 from a suspected drugs overdose.

"My brother was loving and caring but had been traumatised by prior experiences," said Maria McCrea.

"It was very difficult to watch him go through all that he did with the out-of-hours services, wondering if he had a bed to sleep in that night."

Danny had lived with his father and brother in north inner-city Dublin, but was put into foster care following his father's death.

A damning report into the deaths of children in state care, published yesterday by the Child and Family Agency, has found a failure to recognise the risks to the young man.

Miss McCrea was placed in foster care at a young age and grew up in England.

She met her siblings for the first time at her mother's funeral.

"Although I was only in Danny's life for his last two years, we had built up a close bond," she said, speaking on RTE's Liveline.

"I would come over to visit my family about once a month and it was clear that Danny did want help, it just wasn't given to him."

tragedy

A number of recommendations have been put forward in the report in an attempt to prevent a repeat of the tragedy, but Ms McCrea said she was unconvinced at the supposed progress.

Meanwhile, Danny's aunt has revealed how a care worker told his family she could only deal with five of the 50 cases on her desk.

Donna Lambe told how in one day alone they had contacted a social worker 23 times without a response.

"When we went to meetings they said they'd never dismissed us," she said.

"A social worker told us in a meeting before that she gets 50 cases on her desk a day regarding children at risk, and she can only prioritise five.

"Danny was never prioritised, and if she can only prioritise five, that means there's 45 children at risk."

The Child and Family Agency has apologised for what it says were unacceptable shortcomings in the care of the teenager who is referred to as "Luke" in their report.

It found that there was a failure to adequately respond to evidence that Danny, was experiencing abuse as a young child.

The case was one of five examined by the National Review Panel for the agency.

lbyrne@herald.ie

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