Children's Ombudsman, Niall Muldoon
The Ombudsman for Children Office’s Annual Report 2016, launched today by the Ombudsman for Children, Dr Niall Muldoon showed that 34 of the 1,682 complaints received came from County Kilkenny.
“In 2016 there was another rise in the number of complaints received by the Ombudsman for Children’s Office (OCO). 34 of the 1,682 complaints were made by children, or on behalf of children, in County Kilkenny. Each of these complaints relates to at least one child.
“Most of the complaints we receive are from Dublin but we want children, families and all those who works with children to know that anyone can make a complaint to my Office if they are not happy about a service being provided for a child.
“Education was a factor in 46% of the complaints we received. This is to be expected considering the amount of time spent by our young people in education settings. The majority of these complaints related to specifically to schools. We received many complaints about the management of peer bullying in schools, and we found that social media is a particular challenge for parents, students and teachers.
“In 2016, 23% of the complaints received related to the Child and Family Agency (Tusla), these complaints related to children in all parts of the country including Kilkenny. I remain concerned that Tusla are still primarily operating as a crisis agency. There are clear inconsistencies within the agency both geographically and in terms of how issues are dealt with.
“There was an increase in 2016 in the number of complaints we received relating to children with disabilities in inappropriate housing. We also received concerning complaints about supports for children with disabilities and about the children with mental health issues trying to get help, especially at times of crisis.
“It is important that children, and those advocating on their behalf, are aware that the Ombudsman for Children’s Office is here if you are experiencing a problem with a public service. Our service is free and independent, and we try our best to find a resolution as quickly as possible.”