Written Answers. - Child Care Services.

Conor Lenihan

Question:

279 Mr. C. Lenihan asked the Minister for Health and Children if he will consider establishing a high support unit in the Tallaght area which urgently requires such a facility for children at risk. [10978/03]

Approximately €40 million in capital funding has been made available by the Government through the health boards to put in place additional high support and special care places to provide for a small group of children who need more intensive intervention than mainstream residential or foster care services. The number of high support and special care places has increased from 17 in 1996 to a current total of more than 120.

In the eastern region there are two high support units. The six place Creag Arann high support unit is located in the South-Western Area Health Board and the 24 place Crannóg Nua high support unit located in the Northern Area Health Board opened late last year and is being brought on stream on a phased basis. Also in the eastern region is the Ballydowd special care unit in the South-Western Area Health Board which provides a national service to young people aged 11 to 17 years. It is anticipated that the Ballydowd service will incorporate a step down service with capacity for six young people in addition to the 18 places on site. I understand from the Eastern Regional Health Authority that given the existing capacity, there is no current plan to develop further high support units.