Tusla’s National Aftercare Policy for Alternative Care, 2017 is now in its fifth year of delivery. There has been much learning accrued regarding the delivery of aftercare services since 2017, including from the perspective of care-experienced young people, foster carers, and organisations working with these cohorts.
In this submission, EPIC and IFCA have sought to collate our joint learning to assist Tusla’s current review of the Policy.
At the end of May 2022, there were approximately 5,860 children in care in Ireland, of which 90% were in foster care. The role of the foster carer is significant as almost half the number of young people aged 18-22 years that are in receipt of an aftercare service continued to live with foster families.
The Aftercare Policy outlines the legislation which places a statutory duty on Tusla to form a view on whether or not each young person leaving care needs an aftercare service, the eligibility criteria for aftercare and the principles and best practice which are guaranteed under national and international law. It further details Tusla’s mission statement and statement of purpose on the delivery of aftercare.
Since the 2017 Policy was published, the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) published The National Framework for Children and Young People’s Participation in Decision-making which is underpinned by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCPD). This framework obliges all state agencies, state-funded organisations and organisations that work with children and young people to seek children’s views under Article 12 of the UNCRC to uphold their rights and facilitate informed policy making. This allows for children and young people to both express their views and have their views given due weight.
In this respect, a consultation with care-experienced young people was conducted on their experience of aftercare services, including members of the EPIC Youth Council, to inform this submission. Their feedback and recommendations are reflected throughout the paper.
In addition, the authors consulted other key stakeholders including foster carers and frontline staff working with care-experienced young people in both organisations.
Read the full Submission (PDF)