Tipperary has some of the highest numbers of people in foster care throughout the country who will need accommodation of their own in the next few years, it has been revealed.
According to figures released to Tipperary County Council by Focus Ireland from Tusla, the Child Protection Agency, 16 people in foster care will be coming back into the community to live in 2018, with 27 expected to need their own place in 2019.
The council is working with Focus Ireland to acquire a further three units in Nenagh under its Capital Assistance Scheme youth housing initiative to cater for demand. The agency already has three units in the town, with a further unit in Thurles. They are working on buying other units in Thurles, along with facilities in Roscrea and Templemore. The units consist of two-bedroom apartments.
“North Tipperary has the highest number of children in foster care,” housing officer Michelle Maher told Cllr Seamus Morris when he questioned the youth housing initiative. “They have to come back out into the community and they are coming back to North Tipperary. Some will move on elsewhere.”
Focus Ireland has accommodated three people in housing and nine through outreach, with seven referred through Tusla and five from the Homeless Action Team (Resettlement Worker). Its programme is aimed at providing young people leaving State care, or who are at risk of homelessness, with supports to ensure that they acquire the skills to live independently through a housing and housing support service.The youth housing initiative is a collaboration between Focus Ireland, Tusla and county councils. It aims to give all eligible young people, irrespective of their needs, stable and secure accommodation, and that services work collaboratively in an interagency manner to ensure that placements are suitable and that young people get the support they need.
There is a difficulty extrapolating exact overall foster care figures for Tipperary as North Tipperary is linked to the Midwest, which also covers Limerick and Clare, with South Tipperary in with Carlow and Kilkenny. The data on the Tusla website shows that there are a total of 599 people in care in the Midwest and 366 in South Tipperary, Carlow and Kilkenny. However, it does not reveal how many are coming of age in the next number of years.
The Council is also working with Mid West Simon Community Ltd who have acquired one unit in the Nenagh area.
Tipperary Star reporter
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