In 2011, 403 reviews were carried out for Domiciliary Care Allowance, 187 families were found to be no longer eligible and 52 cases have yet to be finalised. Also last year, 2,420 people appealed their decision — both reviews and first time applications — and 1,259 (52%) of those appeals were successful.

Speaking during Leaders’ Questions Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has said the Government seemed to be targeting autism in its review of the Domiciliary Care Allowance. Mr Martin told the Dáil that about 50% of children with autism have lost the allowance.

Domiciliary Care Allowance is paid to more than 24,000 parents in respect of 26,000 children at an estimated cost of €100 million in 2011. The Respite Care Grant cost a further €45 million.

But I am struggling to find out how much a child under government care actual costs the state. Parents should be better support financial to provide the vital care and early intervention that makes all the difference not subjected to trial like interviews to justify their position as Carers.

If you haven’t already done so I would strongly recommend that you start to prepare and gather documentation to support your case if/when your review comes around. Don’t count on the department assessing your case to truly understand the care you have to provide for your child with special needs.