I understand that the cost of €13,250 quoted by the Deputy relates to one young person living on their own for a specified period of time. This young person has an exceptionally high level of complex needs and behaviours.
As a result, they need to be cared for in an environment without other young people present and with a high staff ratio. The needs of this young person dictates that they need full time staff cover, twenty-four hours a day.
This is a case of a young person needing the State to pull out all the stops in order to care for them. Yes, the cost of the care is high, but it is necessary.
Private providers of children's residential services are contracted through a national procurement process. The national weekly costs are set at €6,000 per placement per week. This figure is based on there being more than one child or young person in the centre.
In many cases young people in residential placements also receive a range of specialist services and supports outside of those provided by the centre. This can lead to additional costs.
When specialised, appropriate placements are successful. They can have a positive impact on the outcomes for this small number of very vulnerable children and young people. I acknowledge that not all placements are not successful, but we owe it to these children and young people to make every effort on their behalf.
Ultimately we must provide a safe, supportive setting for vulnerable children. When we get this right, the benefits for the child, and for us all, are considerable.