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More than 150 court summonses sent to parents about poor school attendance

Tusla’s annual report shows there were over 6,300 children in care in Ireland in 2015.

shutterstock_382809607 Source: Shutterstock/Timur Laykov

THERE WERE 6,388 CHILDREN in care and 1,835 young adults in receipt of aftercare in Ireland last year.

Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, released its annual report for 2015 today.

Most of the complaints received by the organisation relate to “alleged failures to take into account the concerns of family members or to consider all the evidence available”.

One in four of the 195 complaints received by the organisation in 2015 were about this issue.

Other complaints focused on staff attitude, lack of communication, child protection concerns and placement issues.

complaints Source: Tusla

Tusla was established in January 2014.

The report notes that employees are being trained so complaints can be logged and analysed on a national basis in 2016, adding:

Complaints received vary in complexity and the majority of complaints are multi-dimensional, containing more than one issue of concern to the complainant.

School

More than 500 school attendance notices were sent to parents last year.

Schools are legally required to inform Tusla if a child has missed more than 20 days a year.

Some 154 court summonses were issued to parents in respect of 102 children last year.

Some of the report’s other key findings include:

  • Cases awaiting allocation to a social worker were reduced by 21% from 2014 to 2015;
  • The number of high-priority cases awaiting allocation to a social worker were reduced by 65% in the same period;
  • An online Child Protection Notification System and a 24-hour emergency service were rolled out in 2015;
  • The waiting list for adoption information and tracing services was reduced by 43%;
  • There was a 74% increase in the number of inspections of early-years services.

Last week, a report detailing the deaths of five young people who were known to Tusla highlighted the importance of early intervention.

Speaking at the launch of the report today, Fred McBride, Tusla CEO, said 2015 was “a crucial year”.

We worked to develop and strengthen early intervention and prevention practices across the agency.

“At a difficult time and with limited resources, Tusla made a strong start to introducing reforms, transforming services and ultimately improving outcomes for children.”

2016 Goals for 2016 Source: Tusla

Tusla is responsible for inspecting and registering early-years services, including pre-schools, day-care and similar services which cater for children aged up to six years.

Some 4,465 early-years services were notified to the agency at the end of 2015, of which 137 were new. Some 2,303 inspections were conducted and 258 complaints were received last year.

Adoption and fostering 

Tusla also assesses possible adoptive parents and provides services to people who were adopted or fostered and may wish to trace their birth family.

Some 223 adoption assessments and 795 applications to the tracing service were completed in 2015.

Meanwhile, 57 monitoring visits took place in foster care homes.

Employees

staff Source: Tusla

At the end of 2015, there were 3,460 whole-time equivalent employees working in Tusla.

Almost 300 new employees were taken on last year.

new staff Source: Tusla

Tusla had revenue of €658,209 last year, with just under €234,000 being spent on pay and pensions, and €416,000 being spent on non-pay related expenditure.

The full report can be read on Tusla’s website.

Read: Jeff’s story: A worried little boy in care – quiet, kind and deeply troubled

Read: Domestic violence, mental illness and drug abuse: The tragic lives of children in care who died

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About the author:

Órla Ryan

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