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Written Answers. - Child Care Services.

Tuesday, 3 December 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 558 No. 4

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 331. Mr. Wall Information on Jack Wall Zoom on Jack Wall  asked the Minister for Health and Children Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin  the number of private companies employed by the SWAHB to provide child care facilities for the board; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24835/02]

 332. Mr. Wall Information on Jack Wall Zoom on Jack Wall  asked the Minister for Health and Children Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin  the way in which the private companies providing child care for the SWAHB are regulated; the staff's minimum qualifications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24836/02]

 333. Mr. Wall Information on Jack Wall Zoom on Jack Wall  asked the Minister for Health and Children Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin  the cost of using a private company to provide child care by the SWAHB; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24837/02]

 337. Mr. Wall Information on Jack Wall Zoom on Jack Wall  asked the Minister for Health and Children Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin  the complaints procedure in place for families of children in the care of private companies on behalf of the SWAHB; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24844/02]

Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Mr. B. Lenihan): Information on Brian Lenihan Zoom on Brian Lenihan I propose to answer Questions Nos. 331, 332, 333 and 337 together.

The number of private companies employed by the South-Western Area Health board to provide child care facilities for the board is two.

Children's residential centres which are not operated by a health board, i.e. voluntary, not for profit or privately run, are subject to inspection and registration by the health board in whose functional area they are located in accordance with Article 18 of the Child Care (Standards in Children's Residential Centres) Regulations, 1996. It is the responsibility of the area health board where the residential service is located to register and inspect the service even if children are placed from other health boards.

[1111]In the Eastern Region, this service is provided by the Northern Area Health Board on behalf of the three area health boards. A national set of standards against which all children's residential homes both statutory and non-statutory, are being inspected was published in September 2001. Among the standards against which inspection and registration is carried out is that there is a complaints procedure agreed by the health boards about which written information is given to children, their parents, staff members, social workers and others with a legitimate interest in the centre.

Private organisations generally charge fees per individual child and costs vary depending on the service provided.

In the time available the Eastern Regional Health Authority was not in a position to provide details of the qualifications of staff employed by the private companies. I will communicate separately with the Deputy when the information is available.


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