28 May 2019, 11.05

The Joint Committee on Children and Youth Affairs will meet today, Tuesday, at 1pm in Committee Room 1, Leinster House to discuss the recruitment and retention of social workers.

The meeting, with representatives of the trade union, Fórsa, will be a continuation of the committee’s discussions on this matter.

In advance of the meeting, the Chairman of the Joint Committee, Deputy Alan Farrell said: “The Committee has been engaged extensively on this topic in recent months, and we now will hear the perspective of Fórsa - which was established following the amalgamation of IMPACT, CPSU and PSEU.

“It is clear that the recruitment and retention of social workers is one of the biggest challenges we face, due to a current limited availability of social work graduates, allied to a very competitive labour market. Waiting lists for social worker expertise exist across all service areas including children and young people, care of the elderly, and the disability sector. The perspective of the second largest union on the island of Ireland, and with thousands of members in the health sector, including social workers, will be invaluable.

Deputy Farrell concluded: “Despite a sustained recruitment and retention drive across all sectors, an acute shortage of social workers remains. The reality is that this is set to continue as the demand for social workers is not being met by the supply of graduates and the retention of social workers within specific posts is acknowledged as challenging.”

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