I thank the Deputy for her question.
The NRP summary report into this serious and distressing case was published on 28 May. The report provides a sober, full account of what happened, and a clear analysis of the failures that occurred in managing the case.
In particular, the report finds that there was enough evidence at the time of the disclosure, in 2007, to warrant the removal of the remaining foster children from the placement. It found that the safety plan was flawed, and that there was a management failure to recognise the seriousness and complexity of the case. These were very grave errors, which have led to lives being changed forever.
In the intervening years since then there have been significant changes in practices and standards. The standards and practices now used are much improved from those used in the past. Since its establishment in 2014, Tusla has worked hard to improve child protection and foster care services, by way of standards, staffing, resources and practices. There is plenty of evidence to show that positive changes are happening.
In respect of the NRP report, I have been advised that the fostering team in Galway increased from three social workers at the time of the Galway case, to 15 whole-time equivalent social workers. Local governance has been strengthened with a principal social worker and three team leaders assigned to the fostering service. Tusla has reformed the foster care committee guidance, beginning with its review in 2016 and the implementation over 2017 and 2018. There is a stand-alone protocol for the management of concerns and allegations of abuse or neglect against foster carers since 2017 which provides an effective system of management and oversight of an investigation and its follow-up.
At the more systemic level, I fully implemented the legislation for mandatory reporting and safeguarding statements in December 2017. Tusla also launched its ambitious child protection and welfare strategy in 2017. Since last year, the first national approach to child protection cases, Signs of Safety, is being implemented for duty-intake across all 17 areas.