Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Ceisteanna (203)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

203. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of cases awaiting allocation to a social worker in each Tusla local office area in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10223/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

Addressing the number of children who are awaiting the allocation of a social worker is one of my key priorities. I secured funds in Budget 2018 which will allow Tusla to carry out the third year of a 3 year plan to provide for the allocation of a dedicated social worker to all children who need one. Tusla are also funded to recruit family support workers, social care staff and administrative staff to work alongside social workers in supporting vulnerable children and families.

An unallocated case relates to a case about a child who is deemed to need a social work assessment, but has not yet been allocated to a social worker. All urgent and emergency cases receive immediate attention by the local duty social work team. The majority of unallocated cases are new referrals, however they may also include children living with their families who had an allocated social worker, or to a child in care, where there is now a social work vacancy.

I am informed by Tusla that a case awaiting allocation may be listed as 'active on duty'. Tusla indicate that this may includes checking with professionals who see the child regularly, or visiting the child and family at home, getting additional information about the child's situation and, in some instances where a child is in care, organising a Care Plan Review and visiting the child.

Information about unallocated cases is published monthly on the Tusla website. The most up to date data available is for November 2017. I can inform the Deputy that there were 24,445 open cases nationally at the end of November. Of these, 4,760 were awaiting allocation of a social worker. This information is provided in the table below, in the format requested by the Deputy. Tusla have experienced an increase of referrals to child protection and welfare services. There were 4,651 referrals received in November 2017, an increase of 749 (19%) on the same period in 2016.

I, and my officials, will continue to engage directly with the Tusla Board and Senior Management Team to monitor and review progress.

Cases open to Tusla social work awaiting allocation to a social worker, by Tusla Area

Tusla Area

Number of cases awaiting allocation to a social worker

Dublin South East/Wicklow

105

Dublin South West/Kildare/West Wicklow

805

Dublin South Central

233

Midlands

241

Dublin North City

369

Dublin North

462

Louth/Meath

240

Cavan/Monaghan

234

Kerry

107

Cork

605

Carlow/Kilkenny/South Tipperary

255

Waterford/Wexford

232

Donegal

467

Sligo/Leitrim/West Cavan

64

Mayo

0

Galway/Roscommon

185

Midwest

156

Total Cases

4,760