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Thursday 30 November 2023 Dublin: -1°C
Child Welfare

New child protection agency to be officially launched today

The Child and Family Agency will take over from the HSE in relation to child welfare.

THE TASOISEACH ENDA Kenny is today launching the new Child and Family Agency, which will bring child services into one centralised regime.

The agency will take over child protection from the Health Service Executive (HSE). Previously three separate agencies, the HSE, the Family Support Agency and the National Education Welfare Board were over the area of child welfare.

It will assume responsibility over these areas:

  • Child Welfare and Protection Services, including family support services delivered by the HSE’s Children and Family Services
  • Existing Family Support Agency responsibilities
  • Existing National Educational Welfare Board responsibilities
  • Pre-school inspection services;
  • Domestic, sexual and gender-based violence services
  • Community-based services related to the psychological welfare of children and families.

The Child and Family Agency will bring together over 4,000 staff and will have a budget of €609 million.

The national network will include 106 family resource centres on the ground in communities across the state.

Speaking ahead of the launch today, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Frances Fitzgerald said:

I consider the new Child and Family Agency as the most effective response possible to our country’s repeated and tragic failings in child protection, as shown in the evidence of successive enquiries and reviews over many years.

She said that the agency is designed in such a way that never again will child protection “be seen as just a secondary concern and that at-risk children will no longer fall through the gaps between disparate services”.

Fitzgerald added that under the new body, families will be offered the best possible services and opportunities at an early stage.

Speaking on RTE’s Morning Ireland, Senator and children’s rights activist Jillan van Turnhout said it was a great day, but said the job of the agency now was to ensure it gets all the resources it needs and that all agencies cooperate with each other.

She said it was also important that the agency communicated to the general public how the can get in contact if they have a concern about their own child or child in the area.

Read: HIQA special care report must consider lack of places says Child and Family Agency>

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