Dublin South West TD, Seán Crowe, called on the Government to address the crisis in respite care for children and to restore hours that have been slashed, as shown by figures released by the Health Service Executive (HSE) to a response to a Parliamentary Question.
The Sinn Féin TD said that many families are now at breaking point and that supports needed to be strengthened not weakened.
Deputy Seán Crowe said:
“Figures released for the first quarter of 2016 suggested that there were 44,141 overnight hours of respite care provided, however, in the first quarter of 2017 this figure has substantially dropped to 40,597.
“That’s a drop of 3,544 overnight respite hours between 2016 and 2017. This is completely wrong and unacceptable. These hours provide respite to parents and families who have a child in the household with a disability, and they are some of the hardest pressed and struggling families in the State. This damning evidence shows that this Government is failing to deliver for them and their families.
“There is not a TD in Leinster House who does not receive emails and calls, some on a daily basis from desperate parents and family members who are seeking respite care hours for their child.”
Deputy Crowe said that even though the demand for services in increasing the opportunities for respite care for children who need it is decreasing.
“I am extremely frustrated and angered at the figures released by the HSE which that show that while the number in need of respite is going up the actual allocation of respite care hours is actually going down.
“This situation cannot be allowed to continue, with many parents and families now at breaking point. We need to restore hope and give support to these struggling families. The support services need to be strengthened not weakened.
“There has to be a commitment from Government that they will stop slashing respite care hours, that they will increase the funding for this basic service and that those families currently struggling will get some basic supports and their children will get the necessary respite care.”