A former HSE social worker will be sentenced in October after she pleaded guilty to theft and deception charges involving almost €100,000.
The court heard that in order to facilitate her scam, 45-year-old Jennifer O'Driscoll of St John's Terrace, World's End, Kinsale, Co Cork, put the names of children on a HSE list of children at risk, even though these children were not in fact at risk and were not even in care.
At Cork's Circuit Criminal Court, defence barrister Sinead Behan said O'Driscoll was disgusted and horrified at her behaviour and was extremely remorseful.
She said O'Driscoll's plea had resulted in cost savings and had spared witnesses having to come to court for a trial.
She said she had collected €18,000 compensation, planned to have another €10,000 soon and was willing to forego her pension entitlements of around €15,000.
O'Driscoll pleaded guilty to 38 charges of theft and 42 charges of deception.
O'Driscoll used her knowledge of the fostering system to generate child placements even though there were no such placements. She then collected the fortnightly payments.
The charges refer to thefts of cash at North Lee social work department in Blackpool, Cork, between 29 May 2008 and 1 January 2013.
Detective Sergeant Clodagh O'Sullivan said O'Driscoll had since been dismissed from her job as a HSE social worker.
She said nine foster carers and 23 children were embroiled in the investigation, while named children were placed on a list of children at risk even though they were never in care at all.
Sentencing was adjourned by Judge David Riordan until 25 October.