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Concern after hundreds of unidentified files on families discovered in office

A review is being carried out now in the Laois/Offaly area.

Image: Shutterstock/Zurijeta

ABOUT 700 UNIDENTIFIED files and 822 unacknowledged Garda referrals were found in Tusla’s Laois/Offaly offices by a new principal social worker.

She brought the files to the attention of chief executive Gordon Jeyes last Friday.

“She was concerned by a number of files identified in the office that she did not feel were allocated to any particular team,” a spokesperson from the Child and Family Agency said today.

A review of the 700 unidentified files is due to be completed by next Friday, 8 May to ascertain which require further work by a social work.

Tusla also has to examine which of the 822 garda referrals were acted upon.

“Tusla has prioritised openness and transparency,” the spokesperson told RTÉ Radio One today. “We’re now looking into it.”

She says there is a hope that the files are non-priority ones, outlining how families could be helped by other services, not social workers.

“Families are becoming increasingly complex and looking for support,” she explained. “Cases come in and are prioritised. Those at risk are assigned and other files are put to one side, for investigation, or for other services. They may be better helped by other services, not social work. Those files are kept in social work offices but are not priorities. We hope these files belong in this category.”

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In a statement outlining the issues, Jeyes said the safety of children is a priority and that he is taking this matter very seriously.

The issues were first revealed by Tusla itself with Jeyes insisting the organisation will continue to be open about poor practice.

“The tradition of sweeping problems under the carpet has no place in modern Ireland. Too many children were failed as a result of institutions who did not acknowledge and address failings. I am strongly committed to supporting good practice and to addressing poor practice.”

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