Care Questions Answered
What is state care?
State Care means you are placed in care after a Judge decides that this is in your best interests. This can happen if that your parents are unable to give you the care you need to keep you safe and protected at home.
If you are taken into care you could live in:
- Foster Care
This is living with Foster Parents that care for children and look after you in their home
- Relative Care
This is living with a family member such as a Grandparent, Aunt, Uncle or another member of your family where they will care and look after you in their home.
- Residential Care
This is living in a house with other young people in care and residential care staff.
Who is the Child & Family Agency or Tusla?
Tusla, also known as the Child and Family Agency was established on the 1st January 2014 and is now the dedicated State agency responsible for improving the wellbeing and outcomes for children. The Child and Family Agency is responsible for providing supports and services to families and protecting children and young people.
How can I be taken into care?
A decision can be made your parents or by a Judge that it is not safe for you at home and therefore State Care is the best option for you.
Voluntary Care: Voluntary care is when your parents agree with The Child and Family Agency (Tusla) that the best option for you is to be taken into care. In some cases parents are unable to cope due to illness or other problems, and they may agree to their children being taken into care. In such cases while The Child and Family Agency has care of the children, it must consider your parents’ wishes as to how your care is provided. The CFA must provide you with care as long as it’s required.
Care Orders: There are a number of ways that the CFA (Tusla) work with children. The CFA may apply to the courts for a child to be placed in care. There are a number of different care orders:
Emergency care order - maximum of 8 days in care
Interim care order - maximum of 29 days in care but may be extended
Full Care order - can continue up to age 18
Interim special care order - maximum of 28 days but may be extended
Special care order - maximum of 6 months but may be extended.
Who will look after me while I am in care?
While you are in care you will be looked after by either your foster family or by the staff in a residential home. Your social worker will discuss big decisions about your care with you while you are in care. You should always be entitled to be a part of any decision made about you while you are living in care.
Can I choose where I live when I go into care?
The decision about where you will live will be made by the Child and Family Agency (Tusla). Your social worker will talk to you about this. Your social worker will try and find someone in your family first before they decide to place you anywhere else.
Should I be allocated a social worker when I go into care?
Yes. All young people in care should have a social worker allocated to them from The Child & Family Agency (Tusla).
What happens if I don’t get a social worker?
What is a care plan?
A care plan is a plan is the plan about your care that your social worker prepares. It includes your care placement, your access arrangements made between you and your parents and your educational arrangements. It will also look at your health and emotional needs. You social worker should talk to you about your care plan.
What are my rights if I am taken into care?
What is a Child in Care Review meeting?
A Child in Care Review meeting takes place typically once every six months for the first two years of being placed in care and usually once a year after that. A Child in Care Review meeting will bring together you and a number of professionals such as your Social Worker.
The Child in Care Review aims to review your care placement and plan your future care e.g. decisions about access to family and education.
Can I go to my Child in Care Review?
Yes. You can go to your Child in Care Review with your social worker as she/he will tell you when the review meetings will take place. You should also be given your Child in Care Review form prior to this meeting so it gives you time to complete the form.
Can I see what is in my care plan?
Yes. You should know and understand the key points in your care plan, and you can ask your social worker, foster carer or a residential care staff member to explain to you what is in your care plan.
Can I bring an Advocate to my Child in Care review?
You can bring parents, teachers, counsellors, foster carers or other people working with you may also be at these meetings. You can also avail of our Advocacy service in EPIC.
Can I keep in touch with my family and friends if I went into care?
Yes when you are in care you can keep in touch with your family and friends. The Child and Family Agency (Tusla) must make sure that you have contact with family relatives.
Can I make a complaint if I am not happy?
If you are not happy about something you can speak to your social worker, parent, teacher or any adult that you trust about the issue you have. This can mean that your opinion is heard and a solution to your issue can be found. If this does not work for you can make a formal complaint. To do this you can contact your local complaints officer in writing (there is a list of complaints officers on the TUSLA Child and Family Agency website http://www.tusla.ie/about/feedback-and-complaints/making-a-comment-compliment-or-complaint/complaints-officers). The complaints officer will then investigate your complaint and come back to you with a response.
Standards for Residential and Foster Care
You might also be interested in these child-friendly guides to standards in Residential and Foster Care