Tusla - Ireland's Child & Family Agency

What about the Children and Young People who have even greater needs?

When children and young people aged between 12 and 17 years, placed in Children’s Residential Services continue to act in a manner that puts themselves or others at risk, and when Centre Staff, Managers and Social Workers agree that they have exhausted all efforts available to them within the community based Centres to address this, a referral may be made to the National Special Care Service.

There are three Special Care Centres in Ireland and these are referred to as ‘Units’ and are purpose built buildings designed to allow children and young people to be detained when the High Court and National Special Care Committee consider a child or young person needs Special Care and Protection.

Placements in Special Care are time limited and intensively supported with on-site education and vocational training, a psychology service and detailed programmes of care and intervention aimed at supporting resident children and young people’s return to the Child and Family Agency’s community based Centres, Foster Care or home as soon as this can be achieved.

A very small number of children and young people each year are placed abroad to ensure their exceptional needs can be met.   This happens for a number of reasons but in the main, it is because the children and young people concerned need very specialist interventions; secure mental health assessment and treatments; or longer periods of detention than is currently possible within the Irish system.

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