Our Facilities

The Maria Goretti Children’s Respite Centre in Lordship, Co. Louth was built by the Maria Goretti Foundation and is managed by RehabCare in conjunction with the HSE. It was officially opened in February 2014.

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We provide a holistic service, supporting both child and family, in a home from home environment for children, male and female, with Autism, intellectual disability or physical and sensory disabilities. The children, who currently range in age from 6-18yrs, are referred to the service by the Louth HSE Respite Referral Team. The service currently provides respite care for over 85 children in Co Louth 6 nights a week.

Nestled in peace and tranquillity, the Centre rests on the shores of the Cooley peninsula, sheltered by high mountains, with sweeping views right down to the sea.  A perfect setting for those who need solace and understanding in their young lives.  Warm, welcoming, and colourful, each child receives a high level of care. When they arrive, their photo is already on the door of their room, their favourite toys laid out, and a poster of their favourite sports or pop star is hung on their wall.

On a day to day basis the service does as any family home does. For many children, the service is their ‘sleepover club’. They come to our centre to meet their friends and do what they see their siblings do, albeit in an environment that works for them.

Through person-centred support planning, we encourage and support every child to achieve their potential in all aspects of their lives. We give children the opportunity to try new things that may otherwise not be possible due to levels of support they require.  We encourage and support the children in participating in the local community.  Activities are arranged to promote the children’s independence.

We have been able to use fundraising money on things such as a state of the art sensory garden and we have revamped our indoor sensory room with a sensory pod and numerous other pieces that help the children settle while in our care.

In May 2021 thanks to the fundraising efforts of families linked to the service and also the desire to help more families, the MGF commenced building a second faclity on site.

In June 2021 funding was secured from the HSE and a new Day Respite Service is now established with 50 plus children accessing this opportunity.  This service is open 6 days a week.

Criteria for Admission

The service provides respite to children from the care group of intellectual disability, autism and physical and sensory disability or dual diagnosis. All referrals to the service are discussed in conjunction with the HSE Louth Respite Referral Team. Once a referral is received from the HSE Respite Referral Team, an initial assessment is completed to ensure the service can meet the needs of the child. The needs of each child are assessed on an individual basis in consultation with families and other agencies involved in the care and education of that child.

All information gathered during the assessment and support planning process will determine the respite planning in relation to mix of age and disability as well as the skill mix of the staff to ensure safety and compatibility for each child. Additional supports will be provided by a registered paediatric nurse to support children with clinical needs.

While on respite, children are also supported in attending their full-time education centres.

To complete a referral to the service please contact the HSE Children’s Team on 042 9381400


Quality, Standards & Training

The respite service meets all the HIQA requirements.

RehabCare, which runs the service, offers a high standard of services with a commitment to quality. Its quality and standards team support staff in achieving the delivery of high quality person-centred services by providing guidance, support, training and monitoring in a number of key areas:

  • Support planning for people accessing our services
  • Person-centred planning
  • Activities
  • Satisfaction surveys for people accessing our services
  • Policies and resources for those who access our services such as bereavement, relationships and sexuality, personal care, administration of medication, and charter of rights and responsibilities
  • Monitoring of compliance against standards such as HIQA and HSE guidelines
  • Monitoring and reporting of organisational performance management
  • Monitoring and reporting on service users’ outcomes
  • Managing complaints
  • Maintaining high levels of communication and information on website, intranet, and internal publications
  • Project supports in business development, funding applications, research, and innovations
  • Leading the organisation in achieving validation of quality and best practice through external accreditation and quality assurance such as EFQM and EQUASS

RehabCare recognises the central role of training and development in supporting and developing good practice, and in delivering safe and effective services. Staff undertake a number of accredited and non-accredited training and development opportunities across all areas of RehabCare. All our training is delivered by highly experienced trainers with full tutor qualifications. Some of the training offered includes: The Fundamentals of Autism, Manual and People Handling, FETAC level 5 Occupational First Aid, Cardiac First Responder, MAPA, EHOA Primary Course in Food Safety, FETAC level 5 Care Skills, Mental Health First Aid, Sensory Integration, PECS, LAMH and many others.