Youngsters face problems after care
Four out of 10 young people suffer mental health problems after leaving state care, new research has revealed.
Empowering People In Care (Epic) found youngsters suffered low mood/depression, suicidal behaviour and anger management after trying to live independently.
The organisation said many making the transition were also at greater risk of homelessness and faced difficulties when attempting to find employment, further education or training.
A survey showed most were also dependent on social welfare as their main source of income and lacked some of the necessary skills to live independently, including budgeting.
Epic - the new name for the Irish Association of Young People in Care - said achieving stability in young people's care placements helps to promote more positive outcomes for their future.
Director Jennifer Gargan said: "The need for stability and fewer placement moves is essential for positive outcomes after care. This enables young people to make a positive transition from care to independence.
"All young people leaving care need and should have access to quality aftercare supports, particularly for times of crisis."
A total of 65 young people aged 17-18 in care in the north Dublin area were questioned before and after they left services on accommodation, education, health and care placement history. A third said they had spent one to five years in care, with 11% there for six to 10 years and 39% for more than 10 years.
Young people were most likely to have had one or two placements during their time in care but 15% had five or more care placements including one youth who had 42 different placements. Nine - 14% - had a child or were expecting the birth of a child while in care.
However 86% were said to have at least one adult they could turn to for advice and support, including a foster carer, sibling, parent, grandparent or aftercare workers.