June 23, 2022
Government failing vulnerable children in care – Kathleen Funchion TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Children, Kathleen Funchion TD, has raised concerns around the number of vulnerable children who have not been assigned a social worker. 

A parliamentary question response received by Deputy Funchion has disclosed that 4,494 children were without an assigned social worker.

Worryingly, of this number, eight percent (361) were categorised as high priority.

Teachta Funchion said:

“I am really concerned by the figures released in this parliamentary question – they show that Tusla does not have enough social workers nor does the system seem capable of keeping up with demand. 

“To discover that there are 361 extremely vulnerable children without a social worker is completely unacceptable. Equally worrying is the length of time children are waiting for someone to be assigned.

“Over 1,090 children are waiting up to and beyond three months for a social worker to be assigned. 

“Tusla’s most recent strategic plan covering the period 2021 to 2023 looks to increase the organisations intake of social workers through their graduate programme by 10%. 

“These figures show that number will be wholly inadequate to ensure all cases are assigned and no vulnerable child is left without a social worker. 

“I do accept that Tusla under CEO Bernard Gloster have made some positive changes, however, these figures point to inadequate staffing levels within the Social Worker grade within the organisation. 

“These figures speak for themselves. Children in care are being let down and we must ensure that not one child is allowed to fall between the cracks. 

“I am calling on the Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman to seriously address social workers staffing levels and match it with increased funding in Budget 2023.

“Protecting our most vulnerable children must be a priority for the government.” 

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