Belfast Telegraph

Tusla handles child protection referral every 10 minutes

The child and family agency managed 55,136 child protection and welfare referrals last year.

(Ian West/PA)
(Ian West/PA)

By Aine McMahon, PA

The child and family agency Tusla managed 55,000 child protection and welfare referrals last year, according to its annual report.

Some 55,136 child protection referrals were handled by the agency in 2018, equivalent to one every 10 minutes.

This is an increase on 2017 when it handled 53,755 referrals, according to the report.

Tusla said it continues to “operate in a complex and evolving external environment”, and demand for its services is constantly growing due the homelessness crisis and increased immigration.

The report found that at the end of December, there were 26,433 child protection and welfare cases open to social work. Of these 20,001 (76%) were allocated to a social worker.

A total of 6,432 (24%) were awaiting allocation and of these at least 1,669 (26%) were being progressed by duty teams or rotating social workers on a duty roster.

Of the cases awaiting allocation, 1,003 (16%) were categorised as high priority but not high risk.

A Tusla spokesman said where a case is awaiting allocation, it is monitored by the team leader, and where any immediate risk is identified, the child receives an immediate protective response.

Brian Lee, national director of quality assurance at the agency, said: “Tusla made significant progress in a number of key areas in 2018, and provided supports and services that improved outcomes for children and families across Ireland.

“We are committed to building on the many improvements already made to ensure we continue to provide and enhance the quality of services to children and families in communities across the country.

“As we move forward, Tusla faces a number of societal challenges, such as demographic changes and an increase of social issues for young people.”

PA

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