I propose to take Questions Nos. 6 and 12 together.
Every year, between 450 and 500 young people leave the care of the State. Aftercare is the planning and support put in place to meet the needs of a young person leaving statutory care at 18 years of age to assist that person to make the transition to independent living.
There has been widespread uptake of aftercare services by those leaving care. In 2016, a total of 1,806 persons aged 18 to 22 years were in receipt of aftercare supports from Tusla at the end of the fourth quarter. In 2015, the figure was 1,763, and in 2014, a total of 1,685 young adults, including those aged 23 and over, were in receipt of aftercare supports.
Of the 605 young adults discharged from care on reaching 18 years of age during 2016, 581 or 96% were eligible for aftercare supports. Of these, 521 or 90% availed of the supports. Engagement with Tusla on aftercare is purely voluntary. Tusla has no power to oblige a young person to avail of the support.
Tusla does not operate a policy of discharging young adults into homeless services. Of those in receipt of aftercare supports at the end of 2016, 9% were identified as being in other accommodation, including accommodation such as psychiatric services, disability services, mother and baby centres or even prison. The number of young adults in these services declined significantly in the 2014 to 2015 period, with a small increase in 2016. Tusla is in the process of updating an aftercare national audit. This will provide a more detailed picture of the outcomes for those leaving care in Ireland, including those identified as having complex needs that leave them at a heightened risk of homelessness.