Thursday, 8 November 2012

Questions (65)

Michael McGrath

Question:

65. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health the action he is taking to ensure that school leavers with mental health disabilities who will leave school in 2013 will have suitable placements and services available to them after leaving school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48930/12]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Day services for adults with disabilities and mental health issues provide a network of support for over 25,000 people who have a wide spectrum of need, ranging from those with severe and profound disabilities who are likely to need long-term specialist service provision to people with lower support needs and greater potential for community participation and inclusion. The HSE, through its Occupational Guidance Service, works with schools, service providers, service users and families to identify the needs of young people with disabilities who are due to complete their second level education. The aim is to address the needs of individuals in the following ways:

- Health-funded rehabilitative (life skills) training (RT);

- Health-funded day services;

- FÁS-funded vocational training;

- Approval to extend education placement for a specified time.

The demand for services for school-leavers continues to grow. In 2012, almost 700 school-leavers required RT places or day services and the position in 2013 is expected to be similar. Budgetary constraints and the moratorium on staff recruitment give rise to challenges in service provision. In addition the physical capacity to provide further services may not be present in all agencies. However both the voluntary sector and the HSE are committed to the best use of available resources in a creative and flexible manner so as to be as responsive as possible to the needs of this cohort. While the HSE makes every effort to provide day services or RT places to school-leavers with special needs, this has always been dependant on the availability and location of appropriate places coupled with the needs of the individual school-leaver. The HSE is currently reviewing the outcomes for 2012 school-leavers in terms of placements achieved and scoping out the likely requirements for 2013.

There is evidence that an accelerated move towards a new model of individualised, person-centred service provision in the community can help to achieve efficiencies, particularly in relation to services for those with mild or moderate intellectual disability. The HSE has established an implementation project team to oversee the implementation of the recommendations in the report of the National Working Group for the Review of HSE-funded Adult y Services. The report, published in February 2012, titled 'New Directions', proposes that day services in the future take the form of a menu of 12 individualised, outcome-focussed supports which will provide adults with disabilities with the support necessary to live a life of their choosing in accordance with their own wishes, aspirations and needs. The guiding principle for the future is that supports will be tailored to individual need and will be flexible, responsive and person-centred.