FG Accuses 'No' Vote Campaigners Of Making Up Statistics

Fine Gael Director of Elections for the Children's Referendum Campaign, Minister Leo Varadkar TD, has today said that Kathy Sinnott and others campaigning for a No vote are making up statistics on children in care that are entirely false.

He said: "Last night, speaking during a Primetime debate, Kathy Sinnott made the incredible claim that a child is six times more likely to die in care at the hands of the State, than in the care of their parents. I can only conclude that Kathy Sinnott made up this statistic. There is quite simply no evidence to support it.

"The death rate of children in care is broadly in line with the death rate of the general population. In 2008, for example, the death rate for children in care was 4.5 per 1,000, while for the general population it was 5.6 per 1,000. So where on earth does Kathy Sinnott get the incredible figure that children are six times more likely to die in care?

"The No side has also claimed that less than 3% of ‘care inmates’ will ever go on to further education. This claim also seems to be entirely incorrect. In 2011, a HSE study of young people in aftercare services found that 614 of 1,015 young people receiving aftercare support were in full time education. Most of the others are working.

"Those opposed to strengthening children's rights have also claimed that 42% of the prison population have been in care. Again, this is quite simply wrong. A review carried out by the Irish Youth Justice Service last year, showed that 32 boys and 12 girls in care placed in the child detention schools in 2011. This at a time when there were over 6,100 children in care.

"These claims are not only wrong, they are misleading and extremely disrespectful of children in the care system. When we talk about children in care, we are really talking about children living with foster families. In fact, more than 90% of children in care in Ireland live with a foster family. Voting Yes will not only help to protect children from abuse and neglect, it will give children in long-term care a better chance of being adopted into a safe and happy home."


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