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Child and Family Agency

Dáil Éireann Debate, Friday - 3 December 2021

Friday, 3 December 2021

Questions (10)

Peter Fitzpatrick

Question:

10. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth the number of private foster carers that have been approved by Tusla in the past 24 months. [59437/21]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

Foster care is the preferred option for children and young people who are brought into the care of the State. Foster carers play an extremely important role in providing a safe and stable home for vulnerable children and young people.  

Depending on their identified need, children may be placed in foster care either with relatives or general foster carers, including placements provided by foster carers recruited by private companies. In all such cases, the safety and best interests of children are the paramount consideration.   

Tusla has approved a total of 734 foster carers in the past 36 months. Of these, 121 (or roughly 16%) were private foster carers. 

The vast majority of ‘looked-after’ children in Ireland reside in foster care. In August 2021, this equated to over 90% of all children in care, a figure that I am proud of and which compares favourably on an international basis.  

The Deputy has requested the number of private foster carers, which I understand to mean the number of foster carers recruited by private companies but approved by Tusla's foster care committees, in the previous 24 months. The most recent data available relates to the first nine months of 2021.  Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, have informed me that a total of 39 of these carers were approved over this period. 

In 2020, a total of 45 private foster carers were approved, and in 2019 a total of 33 of these foster carers were approved.  

These figures comprise the number of approved private foster carers in addition to the number of foster carers under the so-called ‘Brussels II’ provisions. These two cohorts cannot be separated out from the data that is collected by Tusla. 

‘Brussels II’ foster carers are those who have been assessed by another EU State and who have been approved by a Tusla Foster Care Committee and placed on the panel of approved foster carers in line with national policy.

Questions Nos. 11 to 17, inclusive, answered orally.
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