IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 21st July 2015
Under the Child Care Act 1991, as amended by the Child and Family Agency Act 2013, the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) has a statutory duty to promote the welfare of children who are not receiving adequate care and protection. It is clear from this unpublished report from February 2015, that there is a serious crisis in child welfare and protection services. The report detailed serious cases of suspected child abuse not being followed up and serious pressure on staff resources.
Jennifer Gargan, director of EPIC, said “Tusla has not been given the resources to enable it to do what it was set up to do; to protect our children. Nothing substantive has changed since the publication of the Ryan Report in 2009, and we have clearly not learnt the lessons from our history; children are still at risk. In a society such as Ireland, which claims to cherish all children equally, we must prioritise the safety and protection of all children. There is a legal duty and a moral imperative to do so. By not providing the necessary resources to Tusla, the Agency is not able to respond to children at risk appropriately. Not intervening in families at an early stage can cause greater damage and harm in the longer term, not to mention the need for more expensive, less effective treatment later on.”
The length of time some cases are waiting to be allocated a social worker is unacceptable. Worryingly, some cases have been incorrectly categorised, and in the Midlands over 60% of the sample cases were given an incorrect priority level. Leaving cases unallocated or on a waiting list can also leave those children at risk of harm, and may mean that low level cases escalate into urgent cases. Over 44% of principal social workers and team leaders reported their workloads were unmanageable, and that the true number of children at risk may not actually be known.
In the last Budget, the Agency was not given the funding it requested, and we are now seeing the consequences. This current state of play cannot continue and the Government needs to fully fund the Child and Family Agency going forward. There is a statutory duty and moral imperative to keep every child in Ireland safe.
Notes to the Editor
- Gordon Jeyes, CEO of the Child and Family Agency, stated over the weekend (18th July 2015) that the number of unallocated cases has dropped from 8,865 down to 5,000 since February 2015. This is still a staggering amount of about 1,000 urgent cases.
http://www.rte.ie/news/player/2015/0719/20815520-child-protection-services/ (accessed 20.07.2015).
For all media enquiries, or to arrange an interview please contact:
Jennifer Gargan, Director of EPIC
Telephone: 01 8727 661 Mobile: 086 607 3866
EPIC (formerly IAYPIC) is an independent association that works throughout the Republic of Ireland, with and for children and young people who are currently living in care or who have had an experience of living in care.