Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD expresses alarm at 999 high priority cases yet to be assigned a social worker
Speaking today on the release of HIQA’s Annual Overview Report on the Inspection and Regulation of Children’s Services, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD expressed grave concern in regards to the amount of high priority cases known to Tusla that have yet to be designated a social worker. This was among other issues such as inability to meet required standards by service providers. Deputy Ó Laoghaire stated that questions also arise regarding the 21 deaths of children in care, and that some clarity is required.
The Cork-South Central TD said;
“Just last week, I received a reply to a PQ from Minister Zappone which stated that the cost of hiring a social worker per annum amounts to €49,188. The cost of hiring one hundred social workers, each being allocated with 10 cases, would come to somewhere in the region of €5million, which would alleviate the short term issue almost immediately. There also is an apparent issue whereby 588 children who are in foster care had no written care plan, plans which are essential to monitoring the development of the children in question, and their suitability to their respective placements.
"Additional resources are essential if these issues are to be address as quickly as is humanly possible. These children are deemed to be of high priority for a reason, and I would hate to hear of another story of abuse of a child from the media in a year's’ time, due to an under-resourcing of our basic lines of intervention. The best interests of the child should, as always, be paramount.”
Deputy Ó Laoghaire also addressed two other issues arising from the report:
“I see there is a massive problem with areas meeting the standards set out by HIQA, particularly in the area of Louth/Meath were just 1 standard out of 27 was met; a startling figure indeed.
“It is also reported that 21 Children in care or know to Child Protection died in 2015, a not insignificant number. It is unclear as regards to the 21 deaths of children in care, and how many of these were deemed to be avoidable deaths? Túsla need to provide clarity here. I await Minister Zappones response of the matters arising from this report in the hope that these deficiencies are addressed.”