Thursday, 28 April, 2011
The mother of a child who died in State care nine years ago is bringing a civil action against the Health Service Executive (HSE) for alleged breach in their “duty of care”. Doreen Fay gave birth to her daughter, Tracey, in 1983. Her father wanted no part in their lives and Doreen struggled to bring up Tracey on her own. At the age of 14, Tracey was taken into care by Social Services after having been assessed as needing a stable care placement with therapeutic support.
Instead of providing the stable care Tracey needed, the HSE placed her in temporary bed and breakfast accommodation and other emergency care facilities and failed to provide the professional treatments and assessments that had been recommended.
Because of the alleged breach in the HSE’s “duty of care”, it is claimed that Tracey developed a drugs addiction and gave birth to two children while in State care. She subsequently died of a drugs overdose shortly after her eighteenth birthday.
The story of Tracey Fay made national headlines in March of last year, when a confidential HSE report into her death was read into the Dail record by the then opposition TD Alan Shatter. The report raised concerns about the treatment of vulnerable children in HSE care and a special taskforce was established to investigate the deaths of more than 200 other children.
The taskforce’s report, which was due to have been published in February, has been delayed due to the large number of cases still being investigated and delays by the HSE in providing the required information. It is still unknown when the full facts of these cases will be known.
Nonetheless, Doreen still intends to push ahead with her claim against the HSE. If she is successful, it could open the door for hundreds of similar claims from parents whose children have died in controversial circumstances while in state care.
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