Written Answers. - Domiciliary Care Allowance.

Phil Hogan

Ceist:

141 Mr. Hogan asked the Minister for Health the reason parents of children attending special schools do not receive domiciliary care allowance for the months that such schools are closed for summer holidays in view of the fact that it is paid to schools for 12 months although the schools only open for nine months of the year. [36/94]

Domiciliary care allowance (DCA) is paid by health boards in respect of children between the ages of two and sixteen years who are so severely physically or mentally handicapped that they require care and attention which is considerably in excess of that normally required by a child of the same age. Eligibility for this allowance is determined primarily by reference to the degree of care and attention required by the child rather than to the type of handicap involved.

Since the allowance is intended as a recognition of the additional burden involved in caring for severely handicapped children, it does not apply to children who live away from home while attending special schools or other institutions. However, the allowance is not discontinued in cases where children who normally live at home are absent for periods of less than two months e.g. on holidays or undergoing treatment in hospital.
Domiciliary care allowance is paid to the parents of the child and is not payable to special schools. However, while the primary source of funding for special schools is the Department of Education, some special schools receive annual grants from health boards in respect of children with special needs.