Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Questions (1169)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

1169. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of child protection cases awaiting the allocation of a social care worker by priority level and county in tabular form. [13035/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

On receipt of referrals, Tusla, Child and Family Agency, allocates child protection cases to social workers. Social care workers primarily work currently in the area of residential care, family support and on children in care teams undertaking direct work with children. I can advise the Deputy that Tusla, collate and report data by Tusla administrative area, rather than by county. The table below lays out the number of cases awaiting allocation by area and priority level.

Table: Number of cases awaiting allocation to a social worker, by priority level and Tusla area

Area

High

Medium

Low

Total

Number of total waiting who are children in care

Dublin South East/Wicklow

22

59

63

144

31

Dublin South West/

Kildare/WestWicklow

218

251

82

551

104

Dublin South Central

0

292

440

732

10

Midlands

109

288

102

499

60

Dublin North City

0

88

76

164

37

Dublin North

10

685

625

1320

19

Louth/Meath

17

319

122

458

28

Cavan/Monaghan

10

71

18

99

14

Kerry

58

52

17

127

0

Cork

196

322

179

697

2

Carlow/Kilkenny/South Tipp

44

359

115

518

107

Waterford/Wexford

94

158

84

336

42

Donegal

100

152

58

310

1

Sligo/Leitrim/West Cavan

1

26

1

28

0

Mayo

0

0

0

0

0

Galway/Roscommon

11

87

78

176

1

Midwest

113

87

73

273

61

Total

1,003

3,296

2,133

6,432

517

Cases that are not yet allocated a social worker are overseen by duty social work teams, and about one fifth of cases may be dealt with as “active on duty” where specific actions by the social work team are taking place, including information gathering and visits to see the child.

All urgent cases are assigned immediately to a social worker.

Annual data on child protection and welfare referrals show significant ongoing increases since 2015. Tusla child protection duty social work teams screen each referral to determine whether if it meets the eligibility criteria for Tusla. After screening a duty social worker carries out a preliminary enquiry, gathering information about the referral, to determine whether the report meets the threshold for harm for child protection. If the preliminary enquiry finds that the family would benefit from a welfare support and that a child protection response is not merited the case could be diverted for a welfare response at this point. The preliminary enquiry also determines the priority status of each case.

A high priority determination is not solely determined by information indicating risk to the child, but may refer also to a child in care for less than a year, in an unstable placement or approaching 18 year.