Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Ceisteanna (583)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

583. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the average waiting time for children referred to social services to be investigated by county. [7804/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I wish to assure the Deputy that all referrals to Tusla are screened in a timely manner. Where appropriate, the referral will be routed to family support services or, in the case of child protection and welfare concerns, to a social work service. It is important to stress that urgent and emergency cases receive immediate attention by the local duty social work team.

Data on key performance indicators, including the number of referrals received and the waiting time for allocation to a social worker, are reported to my Department on the basis of Tusla area, and not by county, as requested by the Deputy. The most recent data available to my Department was reported by Tusla for the end of November 2018 and show that at that time there were 26,136 open cases. Of these, 20,046 were allocated to a social worker and 6,009 were awaiting allocation. Table 1 lays out the average waiting time by Tusla area.

Table 1.

Area

Referrals Jan-Nov 2018

Open Cases

Open Cases Allocated to a Social Worker

Cases Unallocated <1 month

Cases Unallocated1-3 months

Cases Unallocated >3 months

DSE/Wicklow

2018

950

808

38

53

51

DSW/KE/WW

3189

1409

821

73

116

399

DSC

2314

2010

1439

298

212

71

Midlands

6404

1446

1037

75

168

166

DNC

2954

1329

1205

0

6

118

Dublin North

3233

3913

2801

150

237

725

Louth/Meath

3564

2006

1411

125

205

265

Cav/Mon

1662

681

586

3

18

74

Kerry

1083

602

489

32

31

50

Cork

6366

3690

3076

213

155

246

CW/KK/ST

3462

1510

999

130

77

304

WW/WX

4309

1707

1284

161

136

126

Donegal

1034

1041

755

28

53

205

Sligo/Leitrim/West Cavan

1049

370

346

20

0

4

Mayo

1044

402

402

0

0

0

Galway/Roscommon

3075

1619

1406

134

44

35

Midwest

4428

1451

1191

31

109

120

Total

51188

26136

20046

1511

1620

2959

Of the cases awaiting allocation to a social worker, 994 were categorised as high priority. The priority level assigned to the case is based on the need for intervention in the case, rather than on risk to the child.

It should be noted an unallocated case refers to a case involving a child which has been assessed as requiring a social work response, but which has not yet been allocated to a social worker. These cases are monitored and may be further progressed by the duty team. This can include checks with relevant professionals, home visits and gathering additional information.