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Watchdog finds that Tusla failed to alert gardaí to crimes against children in a timely manner

Neglect and sexual abuse were among the suspected crimes that Tusla was slow to report.

Image: Shutterstock/Monkey Business Images

AN INSPECTION OF the Child Protection and Welfare Service in the Dublin South West, Kildare, West Wicklow area has found that Tusla failed to notify gardaí in a timely manner of suspected crimes of neglect, physical and sexual abuse of children.

The inspection was carried out by the Health Quality and Information Authority (Hiqa) over three days in April. It examined four standards relating to the initial management of referrals and Tusla was found to be in major non-compliance with all four standards.

The service area covers a mixture of urban and rural areas with large rural towns such as Naas and Newbridge and urban areas such as Tallaght and Crumlin.

The watchdog also found that there were no systems in place to formally review cases on a waitlist for preliminary enquiry. Cases were also closed to the service without the required checks taking place and without the rational for closing being either completed or recorded on National Childcare Information System.

The entire area was found to have staffing deficits and the oversight of child protection and welfare cases was poor.

Hiqa did note that Tusla had introduced a number of key changes over the previous 12 months including changes in senior management in the area, the adoption of a national approach to child protection and welfare and the introduction of mandatory reporting. However the changes were not fully implemented at the time of inspection.

Tusla’s Chief Operations Officer, Jim Gibson, said: “We accept the findings of this report, however, it is important to state that Tusla has made important headway in implementing a range of measures to reform child protection and welfare services within a very challenging area.” 

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Ceimin Burke

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