A new report has revealed problems for children with life-limiting illnesses in accessing respite care.
It says that while respite service is provided in all four HSE regions, access is often dependent on the nature of the child's diagnosis and which part of the country the family lives, rather than on need.
The report 'Respite Services for Children with Life-Limiting Conditions and their families in Ireland' says that around €7.6m will be needed each year to provide respite care for 812 children in the various forms outlined in the report.
It envisages respite care being split on a 70/30 basis between in the home and out of home care.
The cost will increase to €8.6m a year for 925 children by 2021.
It means that on average less than €10,000 a year would be invested in respite services for each child.
Around 1,400 children are living with life-limiting conditions in Ireland and around 350 die from a condition each year, most in the first year of life.
The report recommends that the HSE identify family needs and plan for future provision of respite care, that a group oversee the development of national standards for care and that a national needs assessment be repeated in 2017.
The report was funded by LauraLynn, Ireland's Children's Hospice and the Irish Hospice Foundation, in partnership with the HSE.
The HSE said that despite the current economic challenges in health, significant progress is being made on the implementation of the 2010 national policy on children's palliative care.