As the Deputy is aware, foster carers are no longer covered by a commercial public liability insurance policy. Attempts by Tusla to secure continuing commercial cover have proved unsuccessful. However, I am pleased to confirm that pending a permanent solution, all foster carers have an indemnity on an individual basis where required. This is on an ex-gratia basis as a temporary measure to address immediate individual cases while the overall indemnification issues are being resolved.
As I have stated previously, I fully support extending the State Indemnity Scheme under the State Claims Agency to foster parents. Unfortunately, this has taken longer than expected due to technical issues associated with the approvals and statutory process involved, but I can assure the Deputy that work is continuing to address these matters. My Department has been in discussion with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform on the matter, and my intention is to include foster carers under the General Indemnity Scheme operated by the State Claims Agency as soon as possible. In this regard, work is ongoing with the Office of Parliamentary Counsel to draft the necessary Order for Government.
My Department has written to the Irish Foster Carers Association (IFCA) outlining the position and, through the Association, foster carers have been informed as to the current position. IFCA have been kept up to date on a continuous basis. In addition, I understand that Tusla has also made publicly available the information provided to IFCA so as to communicate the position to those foster carers who are not members of that association.