Is my child entitled to have their health and educational needs assessed in Ireland?

Learn more about your child’s rights to health and education for additional needs

Written by Children's Rights Alliance


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This factsheet is an extract from the publication Know Your Rights: The Rights of Children and Young People published by the Children’s Rights Alliance. It is reproduced here with their kind permission. Know Your Rights is a public information project designed to inform everyone, in plain language, of the rights and entitlements children have in Ireland and where to go when they are not respected.

Any child born after 1 June 2002 is entitled to a free assessment of their health and educational needs carried out by an assessment officer from the HSE Disability Services. 

How do I apply for a health or education assessment of my child?

You can apply for an assessment of need using the online application form on the HSE website. 

Unless there are exceptional circumstances, the HSE must:

  • • acknowledge your application within 14 days
  • • begin the assessment within three months
  • • complete the assessment within a further three months.

If there are delays in completing your assessment, you must be told the reasons and given a timescale for when it will be completed.

What happens after the assessment?

After the assessment, you will receive an assessment report. This will outline:

  •  if your child has a disability
  • the type of disability and how severe it is
  • the health and educational needs arising from the disability
  • the services considered best to meet those needs and when your child will receive them
  • when the HSE should review the assessment

You will also get a document called a ‘service statement’. It sets out the health and education services that your child needs. 

This takes account of:

  •  the assessment report
  • whether or not your child is eligible for services
  • relevant standards and codes of practice
  •  the practicality of providing the service
  • the financial resources available

How do I apply for an assessment for my child?

To apply for an assessment for your child, contact the assessment officer at your Local Health Office. 

You can complain to the HSE if:

  • you are not satisfied with the assessment
  • you are not satisfied with how the assessment was carried out
  • if the assessment has not been carried out within the six-month time frame

You can appeal the HSE’s finding to the independent Office of the Disability Appeals Officer.

Need more information?

We are here to answer your questions and talk through your options. Our online chat service is for 16 to 25 year olds and is available Monday to Friday, 4pm to 8pm. Chat to us now about your situation.

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