Thursday, 10 May 2018

Ceisteanna (273)

John Brady

Ceist:

273. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the status of implementing public liability insurance cover for foster carers; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20634/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

As I stated to Deputy Mitchell recently, my Department is fully supportive of extending the State Indemnity Scheme under the State Claims Agency to foster parents.

Unfortunately this is taking longer than expected due to technical issues associated with the approvals and statutory process involved. Work is ongoing to address these matters. While we remain confident that these issues will be addressed, I can also confirm that the Department has approached the Department of Public Expenditure in order to put in place an interim solution.

This interim solution consists of advising Tusla that, while discussions continue between the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in relation to including foster carers under the General Indemnity Scheme operated by the State Claims Agency, no approval for overall indemnification can be provided at this stage. However, both Departments are aware of the critical importance of this matter and are committed to ensuring that every foster parent is offered an indemnity on an individual basis where required.  

In this regard, any such individual indemnification would be on an ex-gratia basis and, as such, indemnification would be made available voluntarily and outside any strict legal obligation. This is a temporary measure to address immediate individual cases while the overall indemnification issues are being resolved.

It might also be noted that the Irish Foster Care Association have been appraised of matters as they stand and my officials have undertaken to keep the Association informed as to progress in the matter. With that in mind a meeting has been scheduled for mid-May to provide an update to IFCA on how matters stand.