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Tusla warns the Government of serious risks to children and child protection services

NewsBy Neil Fetherston
Tusla warns the Government of serious risks to children and child protection services

Tusla, the National Child and Family Agency, has warned the Government of serious risks to children and child protection services.

In an unpublished briefing document to Cabinet, seen by RTÉ's This Week, Tusla admits it is "in default of its statutory obligations" due to the pressure being placed on child and family support services.

Such organisations provide Tusla with rape crisis, domestic violence and family support services.

The briefing paper calls for €19.4m to be invested over a three year period to fund cases where children and families have no allocated social worker.

A study conducted by Tusla found that there were 8,865 such cases in 2014, of which 1,731 were classified as "high priority".

Half of all high priority cases had been waiting more than three months for an allocated social worker, far in excess of the recommended 21 day timeframe.

As a result of the pressure on social work services the Agency is "carrying a significant level of known and unknown risks to children".

Both the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the Tusla say that emergency cases are dealt with, where there is an immediate risk to the life of a child.

However, the document warns that children who are in "serious risk" may become emergency cases if resource needs for early intervention are not met.