Children in care are particularly vulnerable, especially those who are in residential care.
It was quite shocking to read this week in the Irish Examiner that a primary-aged school child in residential care has not been in education since February and that she is risk of being “institutionalised.”
As outlined in the report, the child has challenging behaviour, but that should not stop her being educated.
At the Life Centre, we deal with older children who often present with challenging behaviour.
Young people enrolled in our Centre may have spent time in state care, juvenile justice or hospital system due to mental or physical health issues. Within these systems young people have limited educational opportunities.
Yet these are the very children that require extra support in order that they get the education they deserve.
We at the Life Centre are concerned about the service children in residential care receive generally, and a wider, transparent discussion needs to take place about how young people are treated in residential care.
Education is sometimes the only structure young people have in their lives. Children in care must be able to avail of education, just like every other child.
Care status should not make life harder for children, but sadly it often does.