Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Tuesday, 22 Oct 2019

Vol. 988 No. 3

Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh - Priority Questions

Childcare Services Inspections

Anne Rabbitte


52. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her views on whether it is satisfactory that parents are not informed when a crèche is placed at the critical level by Tusla; and her further views on whether it should be addressed. [43572/19]

I will try to keep the flow going.

I have never been accused before of stopping the flow.

I know and I am not saying the Ceann Comhairle did.

Does the Minister believe it is satisfactory that parents are not informed when a crèche is placed at critical level by Tusla? Does she believe this should be addressed? Is she confident that her Department and herself are fully aware of crèches that are deemed high or critical risk? I seek reassurance for parents.

Where Tusla has evidence of a serious risk to children, Tusla's early years inspectorate brings this to the attention of social work services. This is a requirement under the Children First Act 2015 and in such instances parents are informed. As the independent statutory regulator, Tusla's early years inspectorate employs a risk-rating system for all early years services. This system informs inspection scheduling and levels of oversight and scrutiny of a service. A critical status on Tusla's risk-rating system implies a high and intensive level of scrutiny by Tusla's national review and enforcement panel. It does not imply that children attending these services are at risk, or that they should be removed from the service.

I understand that having limited information available with regard to a service's current status may be a cause of frustration and concern for parents. However, I share Tusla's concern about the implications for parents, children and services, including causing undue worry among parents, if Tusla were to inform parents whenever a service is categorised as critical. The reasons for this categorisation can be varied and do not necessarily imply a child is at risk. Tusla's national review and enforcement panel meets approximately every two weeks, and services are de-escalated whenever concerns are addressed.

The number of services at critical status changes continuously as the inspection process proceeds and as services react to Tusla's concerns. For example, of the 37 services described as critical at the Joint Committee on Children and Youth Affairs on 31 July last, 18 had been de-escalated by 1 October and their cases closed.

While parents have a legitimate interest in knowing the findings of inspections, a service's registration status and the outcomes of legal proceedings, there is also a need to give service providers the right to correct potential inaccuracies in inspection reports prior to publication. Tusla publishes inspection reports as soon as due process has been followed.

I thank the Minister for her response. I am glad she drew on the hearings of the joint committee last July regarding the 37 crèches. Since then, I have received responses to parliamentary questions whereby it appears 595 crèches are on a risk rating register at present. The Minister is correct that this can be for a number of reasons but, at the same time, the concern is that parents are still being kept in the dark. Regardless of the rating, and I concur with her and Tusla that we do not need to alarm parents, parents have a right to be informed when a service is deemed high or critical risk. Normally when a crèche is deemed high or critical risk, it is because of a regulation relating to fire, overcrowding or ratios. Are the Minister and the Department confident with regard to monitoring risk ratings in Tulsa and the inspectorate regime? Are they happy with how it is being run?

I can answer "Yes" to that question; it is very straightforward. As I have identified, a panel meets every couple of weeks to take a look at the various issues that arise in terms of those listed as critical risk. It is also important to note that we are also examining how parents might be given more information at an earlier stage where possible. In addition, I encourage parents to ask their service providers about inspections and any concerns they may have. I encourage service providers to share information with parents about their latest inspection visits, even if it is not yet published. I also encourage parents to speak to their local childcare committees when considering options and choosing service providers. In addition, the Deputy will be aware that I have significantly increased the number of staff in the Tusla inspectorate in recent years to enable improvements in the registration process. I am examining the possibility of new regulations and strengthening powers. We are encouraging service providers and parents to speak directly to each other as well as providing resources for more staff in Tusla.

Foster Care Provision

Kathleen Funchion


53. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the steps taken to rectify the state of understaffing and lack of professional oversight in the social care system for children in County Kilkenny since the recent HIQA report on foster care services in the county; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43281/19]

My question relates to the recent HIQA report on the Carlow, Kilkenny and Tipperary area. What steps has the Minister taken to rectify the state of understaffing and lack of professional oversight in the social care system for children in the areas I have mentioned since the recent HIQA report on foster care services in the area? Will she make a statement on the matter?

I understand the Deputy is referring to the HIQA foster care service inspection for the Carlow, Kilkenny and south Tipperary Tusla region, which was published on 3 October. The inspection was carried out in May this year.

I was very disappointed with the issues raised in the report. To hear the word "chaotic" used to describe the management of this important work was of great concern. While I noted that inspectors found that no child had been harmed, it is clear that significant problems were found, mostly resulting from staff vacancies and a high staff turnover rate. This has led to some children in foster care and their carers having to deal with many changes in their social worker over the years. It was interesting to read that where there was a stable social worker, children were very positive about their relationship.

A total of 92% of children in care were in foster care in a family setting at the end of the second quarter of 2019. This compares well internationally. A recent international comparison, which was carried out by NUI Galway, collected data published between 2015 and 2017. For example, in Wales, Scotland, Norway and Australia, an average of 80% of children were in foster care. The figures were lower again in the USA at 75% and England at 61%.

The area comprising Carlow, Kilkenny and south Tipperary is one of the five Tusla has identified as having significant challenges in providing a consistently good standard of foster care. Staffing levels in these areas is a major contributing factor to the challenges faced. I have asked Tusla to review the reasons for the high turnover of staff, and to identify and examine the contributing factors.

Tusla has developed a workforce strategy, which was approved by its board last spring. It aims to address staffing issues within the agency in the long and short term. The long-term solution is to increase the number of social work graduates and to optimise the mix of skills between social workers and other grades to support them. My Department is working with colleagues across Government and educational bodies to increase numbers of social work graduates. In the short term, Tusla is pursuing a proposal to provide bursaries to social work students to encourage them to work with Tusla.

The Minister has described it as "disappointing". I would go further and say it is totally unacceptable. We have a serious issue in the region with regard to Tusla and its attitude. Part of the reason for the high staff turnover is the very defensive culture in the agency, which does not lend itself to people wanting to work there. On numerous occasions, I have tried to get answers from Tusla but have ended up having to send the correspondence to the Minister to get an answer.

On one occasion, Tusla sent me a letter to say that I had sent correspondence to the wrong address when I have been dealing with the same Tusla office in Kilkenny since before I can remember. That is the sort of attitude one is dealing with and that leads to children not having adequate supports and help. It is shocking. The focus should be on the needs of the child and one in five children in that region is without a social worker. The situation was described as chaotic and there is not much aftercare support. We heard there was extra money for this sector in the budget, so my specific question is how many social workers, aftercare workers and administrative workers will be recruited in this area?

I really note what the Deputy has said about that region and we will take account of it. I have also tried to indicate my own response to that report. An action plan has been drawn up and the overseeing and implementation of that will hopefully address many of the issues the Deputy has identified. I have also talked about the ways in which we are trying to move on the recruitment and retention of additional social workers. I have significantly increased budgets over the past number of years and much of that has been directed to supporting Tusla in doing that kind of recruitment.

I do not have specific answers to the Deputy's questions, although I can get them, but an eight-point plan for this region, along with some others, has been identified. It offers additional ways to monitor and encourage the change that needs to take place in those areas.

I would welcome it if the Minister would specifically look into this region as to why there are such difficulties and so many problems there. Part of the problem is obviously around resources and the need for additional social workers because there are many vacancies but we also must ensure that those social workers stay in the region. We all know that the last thing a vulnerable child needs, one who is already facing changes and different things in his or her life, is to build up a relationship with a social worker only for it to be torn apart. That gives that child the perception that there is nobody there for them and that the State is failing them and, to be honest, the State is failing them in that situation. There will always be situations where staff have to change but not to the level that we are seeing in this area. It really is not good enough. I think of the number of children who are falling through the cracks. It was also stated in the report that many children were only assigned a social worker shortly before the HIQA report commenced, which makes me wonder if they would ever have got a social worker if there had been no HIQA report. This area really needs to be specifically looked at.

Senior management in Tusla is working to improve foster care in the region. As I already indicated, HIQA has expressed satisfaction with the action plan that has been put in place in the area to address the shortcomings identified in the HIQA report. I take note of and acknowledge the Deputy's statement about the inspection and uncovering of the issues. That is why HIQA is there and inspections are carried out. We have Tusla's response in quickly identifying what it needs to do and put in place in order to bring about the changes. My officials have also engaged with Tusla about the specific matters raised in the HIQA report on this area and are monitoring actions and improvements closely. I look forward to seeing the outcome of the implementation of that plan and, as I have indicated, Tusla has put in place additional ways to bring about change in that area and others in order that standards can be raised more quickly, as we all wish to see.

Childcare Services Provision

Anne Rabbitte


54. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs when the national childcare scheme will be fully operational and open to all parents. [43573/19]

My question asks the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs to clarify when the national childcare scheme will be fully operational and open to all parents.

The national childcare scheme will open to online applications on Wednesday, 20 November, with subsidies flowing from the following Monday, 25 November. The paper-based application will be available early in the new year. Children and families using the existing schemes may choose to remain on their current schemes.

In preparation for the national launch of the scheme in November, we have been piloting the IT system since 16 September. The pilot has been highly valuable, allowing us to identify and address a number of issues.

Last week, I signalled that a minor snag had been identified, which blocked a small number of applications from proceeding through the system. This relates to families with more than four children. The issue has been rectified but required a few additional weeks to address the issue and retest the system. 

I am pleased that we now plan for the scheme to open for applications on 20 November. We expect approximately 65,000 children to benefit from the income-based component and a further 15,000 to 20,000 children to be on the universal scheme. Some 7,000 children will benefit for the first time. We anticipate that the families of approximately 45,000 children will receive subsidies higher than those they are currently receiving.

The pilot will continue for the coming weeks. Parents participating in the pilot will be able to register and use their subsidy award once the scheme opens. We are also inviting providers to complete programme readiness activities in this final pre-launch phase in order that they are ready to go and that subsidies can flow as quickly as possible.

The national childcare scheme is a landmark and highly innovative initiative.  It is our future pathway to quality, accessible and affordable childcare in Ireland and our platform to support long-term investment in universal and targeted supports.

Parents and providers deserve a robust system and a positive user experience when accessing the scheme.  It is too important for families for us not to deliver the best possible scheme and system.  Parents with any queries regarding the national childcare scheme are encouraged to check our website, www.ncs.gov.ie, or to phone our parent information line.

I thank the Minister for her response. I said, when I asked about the scheme last June, that I was looking forward to asking the question because it was going to be the last time I did. I did not think I would have to ask about the scheme again. Is the Minister confident at this stage that we are down to the last snagging issues? Is she confident that the problem relating to families with more than four children is the last one? Is she confident that on 20 November, I will be tweeting that the scheme has gone live? There are many parents waiting. The Minister was right about how many children will be brought into the scheme.

I am afraid because this has gone on for so long. The Minister and I cannot build an ICT system but at the same time, these problems have been ongoing since 2017. The Minister has piloted the scheme and it was being trialled when I asked about the issue last February. The childcare providers need to know that they are off the paper-based model.

Is the public service card still part of the model of the new childcare scheme?

In answer to the first of the Deputy's questions, as she is aware this is one of the most significant infrastructural projects that the State has taken on in the past couple of years. We have had in place a project management oversight board of experts in all the different fields, governing the implementation of this initiative to the highest standard. That is exceptionally important in order that, when the scheme is ultimately delivered, we can have confidence in the ways it has been put together.

I had the opportunity to visit the people who are building the system last week. Officials from my Department, Pobal and business analysts from Codec, which is the company we hired to build this incredible system, met one another. Having met those representatives and listened to the ways they are putting the system together and testing it for the last time, I can say to the Deputy that I feel very confident that this scheme will open on 20 November.

I ask Deputy Rabbitte to follow up.

I apologise because I have not answered the Deputy's last question.

There is no hassle and I am sure she will answer it the next time. Have we the people with skill sets to man this system or how will it be manned and maintained? We all know that computer systems are quite fickle and may break down, particularly when the system will be inundated in the middle of August, when people will want to register to avail of the scheme or to apply for the September intake under the early childhood care and education, ECCE, scheme, or when children enrol for the first time. Have we properly-resourced people with the proper skill sets to maintain the system within Pobal or the Department? We must ensure that, when the system goes down, it is back on track very quickly in order that people do not miss out on the opportunity to avail of subsidies or whatever benefits they are entitled to.

Having seen last week how the system works, is the Minister confident that it is user friendly?

I am fully confident that it is user friendly. I was given a demonstration of a couple of family types that could use it and how relatively straightforward it was to use. Ultimately, there is a determination of the award and what the subsidy will be. It will be revolutionary, not only for parents and families but also for providers. Nevertheless, it will probably take some time for people to use it, to understand how to do so, to follow the instructions and so on, as well as for providers to take it up, because it is such a large leap into something new. I am also very confident there will be the supports required to maintain the system. One of the reasons for the use of the various types of pilot scheme is in order that when it goes live, we will feel confident that it will work on busy days when there will be an influx. That is also why I emphasise the pilot scheme we have undertaken. All of the people who have gone through the pilot scheme have effectively obtained their award; they just need to pass it on to the provider of their choice. Some of the work has been done and providers are getting ready.

Climate Change Policy

Eamon Ryan


56. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the steps she is taking to ensure the political views expressed by thousands of young persons in recent months who have marched and protested on a range of issues but particularly the issue of climate action are engaged with and acted on, in view of the fact that one of the transformational goals of the strategy of her Department for young persons, Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures 2014 to 2020, is to listen to and involve children and young persons. [43419/19]

My question follows the major climate strikes by young people throughout the country, including on Merrion Square, outside Leinster House, where they addressed the House directly in saying they were not being listened to and that we were not protecting their future. Everything in the Government's strategy for children indicates that we have to hear their voices, particularly on decisions that affect them. The issue of climate change will affect them more than us. How might we increase the involvement of young people in decision making and listen to them in a way that works?

I am deeply conscious that climate justice is the issue of our time. I am proud of how young people have demonstrated tremendous leadership, as the Deputy identified, in amplifying the conversation on climate justice, not least on the international stage. My Department has become a world leader in listening to children and young people. Young people have a right to have their voices heard and contribute to the policy process on climate matters. Not only that, we must acknowledge that the solutions to the complex issues related to the climate will be better shaped if they are informed by young people from the start.

My Department oversees and supports the well established permanent structures that include Dáil na nÓg, Comhairle na nÓg and the structured dialogue process. Many of the projects carried out at local level by Comhairle na nÓg are related to climate action. On 23 November, Dáil na nÓg will meet and form the newly appointed Comhairle na nÓg national executive. Young people have agreed that the national executive's work for the coming two years will be on the topic of climate action. They will be supported and enabled by officials from my Department to work with decision makers in the relevant Departments and other bodies to ensure these actions will be translated into policy and practice on the ground.

Last week I announced a new special fund for youth action on climate justice. I hope it will help to enhance channels for direct engagement between young people and decision makers across Government and beyond. The overall goal will be to bolster young people to be in powerful, enduring dialogue with decision makers and to support initiatives that are both youth-led and respond to the issues raised by young people.

As a country, we have been to the forefront in developing innovative structures to enable young people to participate in decisions that will affect their lives and we have published the first national strategy in the area. I am pleased that we can use these participation structures in a practical way to deal with actions on climate change.

I welcome all of the developments outlined by the Minister. It is welcome that this Chamber will be used as a setting for young people. As the Minister indicated, Dáil na nÓg and Comhairle na nÓg, when asked at their meetings what the key issue for them was, both agreed that climate change was at the top of their agenda. Will the Minister go further and give examples of how we can engage, not just with national institutions but also at local level? We need to change every community in the way the transport, energy, food and energy systems work. While there is an effective scheme of green flags in primary and secondary schools, I encourage the Minister and her relevant ministerial colleagues, namely, the Ministers for Transport, Tourism and Sport and Communications, Climate Action and Environment, to engage with schools directly such as on the issue of safe routes to schools. At my local school down the road which my daughter attends there are approximately 600 girls, only 20 of whom cycle to school. How can we change that figure? We should involve students by asking for their help and advice on what we could do in practical term to make the leap and change. Such examples, which relate to actions on the ground in the community at a local level, not just at the level of Dáil na nÓg and Comhairle na nÓg, are what we need to listen to and take action.

I greatly appreciate what the Deputy said. I, too, have visited several schools in my constituency to observe what they have done of their own accord under the green flag scheme or in dealing with other issues they have identified. The other day I visited a junior school where I met the green committee which comprised senior infants pupils and discussed what they encouraged their parents to do to change their behaviour to support the work on climate action and change. I, therefore, accept the Deputy's point and agree with it. My initial response emphasised that there were structures, not just at school level, as the Deputy noted, but also at local level that fed into what was happening at national level where we have listened to the voices of young people. They have identified climate change as their main issue and specific actions that they want to take and which they also want adults to take. We want to find a way to establish, as part of that process and across Government, tapping into various Departments, an ongoing forum to enable a gathering of young people to have deeper engagement with parliamentarians in a way that will continue to influence what we decide to do and that will help them to stay ahead of us.

That is welcome. The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Deputy Bruton, has travelled throughout the country and held a series of public meetings, but he should have some specifically with younger people. If he were to do so, one hopes it might help to move the dial. During the recent climate march on Merrion Square I heard the anger among young people. There was a sense that they were not being listened to and that, on the one hand, the Government talked about how it was into climate action, while in the next moment it stated there would have to be a liquefied natural gas facility on the River Shannon to provide for our future security. Such facilities, however, undermine the security of young people. I could list example after example, but I return to my main point that on this issue more than others, young people have a perspective and voice that deserve to be heard because it is their future. They can envisage the reality of what will unfold in their lives if we do not address it. The Government states it listens, but it does not seem to change to make different decisions and act. If it involved young people more, perhaps we might finally sway the Ministers for Communication, Climate Action and Environment, Transport, Tourism and Sport and Agriculture, Food and the Marine. They are not moving, but they need to listen more.

I attended the UN General Assembly with the Minister, Deputy Bruton, and others when young people were outside. The United Nations invited them inside and we listened to what they had to say. Some of our climate activists were in attendance and we had conversations with them. We promised them that when we returned, we would try to identify ways by which we could develop engagement. I refer more specifically to an ongoing youth council forum to extend the structures already in place and to develop a way to ensure their voices will continue to be heard, which is exactly what I identified in my initial response. We are beginning to put such a forum in place and plan for it. I sought money in the budget to do so. I agree with the Deputy and have identified that we have begun the process.

Child and Family Agency

Mattie McGrath


55. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she has met with a group (details supplied); if she has received a report compiled by the organisation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43418/19]

Does the Minister believe Tusla is fit for purpose and that it can deal with many pressing issues? I am concerned about the way it treats the Alliance of Birth Mothers Campaigning for Justice which is campaigning for justice for its members' children.

I understand the Deputy is referring to the Alliance of Birth Mothers Campaigning for Justice. I have not met the group but I have received its report. It is important that the voices of those who engage with our services are heard.  The sample size in the report relates to 25 mothers. They represent mothers whose children are either in the care of their fathers or of Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. The report is concerned with the actions of Tusla, the courts and An Garda Síochána. Although the sample size is small, the feedback and experiences of people who live through challenging life events should influence how our agencies work with vulnerable parents and children.  

Parents may find the decisions of the courts regarding where their children shall live to be distressing and upsetting. It is of the utmost importance that efforts are made to support parents where possible and to ensure that a child only enters care where all other solutions have failed. While such decisions can be heart-breaking for a mother, the State, through its agencies and the courts, must bear in mind the child’s best interest and safety and act accordingly.

Under its new child protection methodology, signs of safety, Tusla is working in co-operation with family members of children who are considered to be at risk to find safe solutions for them. This methodology was rolled out to all 17 Tusla areas in 2019. I am very glad to say that the formal feedback from families who have been part of a signs of safety intervention has been positive. Tusla has also strengthened policy and practice where a parent voluntarily places his or her child in care.

The report proposes that accountability, competency and transparency should be key guiding principles for services working with children and families. I agree, and I also believe that these principles are respected. I want to assure the Deputy that in Ireland, we set a very high standard for the care and protection of our children. Tusla's valuable work is subject to oversight and scrutiny by the Health Information and Quality Authority, HIQA, the Ombudsman, the Ombudsman for Children and CORU, the latter in its registration of social workers. In addition, the Public Appointments Service ensures fair procedures in the appointment of professionals.

As the Minister says, I am referring to the Alliance of Birth Mothers Campaigning for Justice. It was launched some time ago and I know Deputy Rabbitte has attended its meetings.

I honestly do not believe Tusla is fit for purpose. Has the situation outlined by the Alliance of Birth Mothers Campaigning for Justice ever arisen before? I have heard of many worrying cases. I have handed the Minister a dossier. I hope she has read it. It is quite distressing, serious and damaging. Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, has been lambasted in several reports in recent years. For the first time, questions are being asked about whether it is fit for purpose in its current form. An audit carried out by Dr. Geoffrey Shannon, the very well-respected special rapporteur on child protection, found that communication between Tusla and An Garda Síochána was poor, with limited levels of inter-agency co-operation and co-ordination between them falling far short of international best practice. This is standard practice all over the world. A lot needs to be done. Socks need to be pulled up. The Minister needs to pull her socks up to turn this agency into a vehicle that is ft for purpose. There are huge concerns about it.

I believe that this agency is fit for purpose. There are challenges and failures but children are safe today because of its work. It is not a finished product and further progress is needed. As society evolves, so will Tusla. It has achieved much in its five years. It has brought a myriad of disparate groups, technologies and practices together under one umbrella. It has responded to numerous high-profile tragedies that occurred before its formation. It is important to acknowledge the good work that has been done and is done by the agencies on a daily basis.

In my initial response to the Deputy, I identified several oversight bodies that offer recommendations and analysis on the challenges the agency faces and the things that ought to be changed. Those recommendations are presented to me, action plans are developed by Tusla, the action plans are put in place and the results are monitored. Tusla and its supporting bodies have taken many steps to ensure it is fit for purpose, including its own directorate of transformation and policy, which has made many strides in reshaping and refocusing its policies. As I said before, that does not mean there are no challenges remaining. However I absolutely believe it is fit for purpose. The reform process it has identified is under way and it will be able to build on what it has done before, especially with its new leadership. I have fought for and secured resources to support the agency in doing that.

I wish I could be as absolutely confident. The Minister mentioned accountability and transparency. They are not in evidence. As the Minister said, Tusla has been in place for five years now. As I said at the time, many officials were simply hived off from the HSE and left to their own devices. Parents deal with Tusla, An Garda Síochána and the courts by themselves. The Alliance of Birth Mothers Campaigning for Justice is a group that has come together because its members are not getting a fair crack of the whip. They mean business.

The Minister says there is a lot more to be done. That is true. I would like to be half as confident as she is that Tusla is fit for purpose. Quite clearly it is not. I speak to members of the Garda on a regular basis. All week long they deal with cases with Tusla and social workers. At 3 p.m. or 4 p.m. on Friday evenings, the social workers call An Garda and say it is the problem of the Garda now. Is that proper communication? The report found that there is not proper communication with An Garda Síochána. These are the statutory bodies that should be dealing with this. I meet superintendents who tell me this all the time. They get a phone call and the cases land in their laps. They have limited resources. They might spend all week dealing with Tusla and its officials but nobody is available from 4 p.m. on Friday evening until Monday morning. On a bank holiday weekend they will have to wait until Tuesday morning. Tusla is not fit for purpose and it is not doing what it should be doing.

I thank the Deputy. I note the information and the specific examples he has provided. We take note when the Deputy makes representations. I suggest there is evidence of good inter-agency co-operation, particularly between Tusla and An Garda Síochána, which is what the Deputy's comments largely concerned, as well as other bodies working with children and their families.

As the Deputy knows, social workers and gardaí work together on a daily basis in the interests of children and in the main, these relationships are positive and work well. However, as the Deputy notes, the system has benefited greatly from the audit performed by Dr. Shannon and other investigative reports. Recommendations were made in light of that audit. As a result, An Garda Síochána and Tusla published the Children First joint working protocol to reflect the provisions of the new Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 and the Children First national guidance for the protection and welfare of children of 2017. That protocol covers respective responsibilities in key areas, including notifications of suspected abuse between both agencies, the role and function of each agency, confidentiality and information-sharing, ongoing case management, liaison management, structures and meetings. I can assure the Deputy that the ongoing implementation of joint working strategies is subject to ongoing analysis and review by Tusla and An Garda Síochána and is monitored by this group.