Are you worried about your child being taken into care? Not sure who to turn to for help? Well we’ve created a helpful guide for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller families and the organisations that work with them. This has been put together with input from family law specialists and provides a list of organisations and firms who can help you if you need urgent advice. New research In response to the concerns about Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children being ‘deliberately targeted’ by social services and ‘forcibly adopted’ we analysed the ‘Looked After Children’ data from the Department of Education and submitted further Freedom of Information requests to receive the full data relating to Gypsies, Roma and Travellers. Our research found that there is no evidence of coordinated and deliberate targeting of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children at the national level. Whilst every case where a has to be adopted away from their family is a tragedy for those involved, and there is a clear need for additional foster parents from GRT communities, there is no evidence to suggest sustained patterns of deliberate or disproportionate use of the care system to target GRT children and families. Other findings include:
- There are slightly higher rates of initial referrals for enquiries for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children, but the majority of Child Protection Plans (particularly for Irish Traveller children) are concluded after a relatively short period of time (three months or less).
- This indicates a need for increased cultural competency training for social care, educational and other relevant professionals as well as a need for enhanced dialogue with the communities on how social work professionals perceive and interact with Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.
- It is also likely a number of young people on longer-term plans may be in secure accommodation/youth detention. This may help explain why some of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children are subject to Child Protection Plans for over two years.