Chester House in Dublin 7 was the location of an unregistered hostel for 27 separated teenage girls seeking asylum in 2009 and where the Children’s Ombudsman found the only staff present at night were two security staff
Between 2010 and 2017, 28 “unaccompanied minors” or “separated children” went missing from State care.
These are people under the age of 18 who arrive in Ireland seeking asylum without being accompanied by a parent or a guardian.
According to Tusla, four separated children went missing in 2010; six in 2011; two in 2012; two in 2013; one in 2014; five in 2015; five in 2016; and three in 2017.
Separated children don’t reside in the Direct Provision system, where other asylum seeking adults and families reside.
Instead, since 2010, separated children have been mainly cared for in foster care settings.
This followed a decade of separated children largely residing in mainly unsupervised hostels – from which hundreds such children went missing.
For example, in June 2007, five Nigerian girls, the youngest of whom was aged 11, went missing from their accommodation in Ireland and there were fears at the time that they were being used in Ireland’s sex industry.
In a 2009 report by the then Children’s Ombudsman Emily Logan, she found a stark difference between the unregistered (seven) and registered hostels (two) used by separated children in Dublin at that time.
She examined the unregistered hostels with addresses at Staircase Hostel and Brehon House, both in Dublin city centre and both of which accommodated 30 people; Sandford House, Dublin 6; Chester House, Dublin 7: Ashton House, Dublin 9; and Riversdale in Co Dublin.
The registered hostels she examined were Lansa House, Dublin 4 (which opened in 2008); and Belleview House, Dublin 24 – both of which accommodated six young people.
She found the registered hostels were run by care staff, while the unregistered hostels were run by managers who were not qualified care workers.
She found that, at night time in the unregistered hostels, the only staff present would have been security staff – while registered hostels would have had five qualified care staff at any one time during the day and two available at night time.
At the time of writing her report, Ms Logan also wrote about the “alarming” number of children who were disappearing from State care.