Press release

HSE publishes Roadmap for Service Improvement for Disability Services for Children and Young People

Published: 10 December 2023

Updated: 29 January 2024

Supports to enhance responses to children and young people with complex needs as a result of disability and their families were published today (Tuesday, 24 October 2023) in the HSE’s Roadmap for Service Improvement 2023 – 2026 for Disability Services for Children and Young People (PDF, 226 KB, 40 pages).

The roadmap is a targeted Service Improvement Programme to achieve a quality, accessible, equitable and timely service for these children and young people.

Implementation of the Roadmap for Service Improvement Actions will:

  • Ensure children are referred to the most appropriate service
  • Reduce the waiting time for children currently waitlisted for Children’s Disability Network Teams
  • Optimise use of voluntary and private disability service providers for assessments and  interventions
  • Improve HSE’s legislative compliance for Assessment of Need as defined in the Disability Act
  • Improve outcomes for children and families and their experience of Children’s Disability Network Teams’ service
  • Enable teams to optimise service effectiveness and efficiencies, and opportunities to collaborate with community networks such as Children and Young People’s Services Committees
  • Improve staff retention on Children’s Disability Network Teams in the long-term as a good place to work.

The Roadmap outlines actions required to improve integrated services between Disabilities, Primary Care, CAMHS and Tusla, CDNT Service Access, and the Department of Education. These actions will focus on improving service access and quality including Assessment of Need, Workforce retention and recruitment, communication and engagement with children and families, and staff engagement with Education and Support for Special Schools.

Launching the Roadmap, Roderic O'Gorman TD, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, commented: 

“I strongly believe in the positive change this Roadmap can bring. With this launch, we will see a renewed focus on the provision of services necessary to relieve the pressures on frontline staff and families. This Government remains resolute in its commitments to supporting children with disabilities and their families by providing high quality, responsive and timely services to meet their needs”.

Minister of State for Disability, Anne Rabbitte TD, said: 

“We must improve services further, increase capacity, and reduce waitlists. The scale of the challenge in this area is well understood by Government and HSE, and substantial and concrete efforts are being made to focus on finding workable solutions to improve services and supports for children with disabilities and their families. This Roadmap is key in mapping out how we reach the end goal and the successful implementation of this Roadmap will ensure that we will have not only a better resourced and effective children’s disability service, but a service that we can all be very proud of".

Bernard Gloster, HSE CEO, said: 

“We are committed to improving the services we provide to children and young people with complex disabilities and their families. Despite the many committed staff providing disability services, we know that families can face challenges accessing the care they need for their children and young people. This Roadmap is a targeted Service Improvement Programme to achieve a quality, accessible, equitable and timely service.  We will work to ensure that health services work together collaboratively, working closely with other Government agencies and with families to improve our services and enable children and young people with complex disabilities reach their full potential”.

Bernard O’Regan, Head of Operations, Disability Services, HSE said: 

“The HSE and its partner agencies are providing CDNT services for over 45,740 children at this time. The aim of Children’s Disability Services, provided by the HSE and its partner agencies, is for every child to have a childhood of inclusive experiences where they can have fun, learn, develop interested and skills, and form positive relationships with others in a range of different settings.”

The Roadmap has been approved by the HSE Board, the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Minister Roderic O’Gorman, and Minister of State, Anne Rabbitte.

Progress reports on implementation of the Roadmap targets will be published quarterly on the HSE website.

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