The HSE National Aftercare Policy states that all young people in care are assessed for an aftercare service from 16 years onwards. The length of time an aftercare service is provided is dependent upon the assessed needs of the young person, but is generally provided for up to the age of 21 years or 23 years if the young person is in education.
I have been advised by the HSE that the young person referred to by the Deputy turned 21 in February 2013. She commenced a course in Applied Social Studies in September 2011 and will complete this programme later this month. She has received full financial support from the HSE during this two year period to support her educational course. All of her expenses have been covered including a deposit, rent, travel expenses, educational expenses, moving in allowance and clothing allowance. She has also received a living allowance of €188 per week.
The HSE has indicated that the young person in question is now requesting funding in order to commence another course which is not a follow on from the Fetac Level 5 she has just completed. This would bring the young person up to the age of 24 years, which is outside the scope of the HSE National Aftercare Policy. The HSE has advised me that the young person in question will continue to be advised on all her options to further her education.