KeepHealthCare.ORG – 52% of Oberstown detainees have a mental health need
A report by Oberstown Children’s Detention Centre highlights the level of adversity and trauma faced by young people who are sent there, including neglect and abuse, high levels of substance abuse as well as mental health issues.
Ninety-two children were sent to Oberstown in the first three months of this year for offences such as criminal damage, offences under the Road Traffic Act and theft and fraud.
The report found that 52% of young people at Oberstown were identified as having a mental health need.
The centre’s Deputy Director and Head of Care Services, Lena Timoney, told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that an inter-agency approach was needed to address these needs.
Ms Timoney said detention patterns in Oberstown are fairly consistent with patterns in adult prisons.
She said that detention does not necessarily mean total desistance from offending for young people.
However, she said it did offer young people the opportunity to engage with services that they may not avail of in the community.
Ms Timoney added that 49% of the young people were not engaged in education prior to coming into detention.
She said their report shows that for the first three months of this year, all of the young people in detention were engaged in education while they were in Oberstown.
Ms Timoney said a number of community-based stakeholders will come together today to look at the data contained in the report to explore how a multi-agency approach can be taken to address the complex characteristics of the children, address their care needs and area of risk in order to assist them from re-offending.