A local organisation aimed at helping young adults who have been in care held a coffee morning recently in Swan’s, Naas, with the aim of raising funds and awareness.
After Residential Care Trust aims to fill an enormous gap in current services. The experience of its founding directors Paula McHale and Nick Butler is that young people who have been in the care of the State, usually the HSE, are discharged from that care once they reach 18.
However, like most 18 year olds, they are insufficiently equipped to deal with the real world and independence at that age. And unlike most 18 years olds, they often come from difficult family backgrounds and have had chaotic lives up to that point, making it even more difficult for them to cope.
“The notion of after care is a relativiely new development in the long hsitory of State care for children,” the directors explained.
“Although it is provided for in the Child Care Act, it is solely at the discretion of the State as to whether this happens on not. Furthermore, after care is not defined in law.” And they explain that “outcomes for such young adults are poor, with poor educational attainment, criminal activity, prostitution, suicide and substance abuse being just some of the many pitfalls they face,” Paula explained.
At the moment, the Trust is currently drawing up its business plan and introducing itself to the other service providers in the area. Paula says: “At the moment, we’re just active in Kildare, but this is a nationwide problem.”