Tusla – Child and Family Agency Publishes Business Plan for 2017
Tusla – Child and Family Agency has today published its Business Plan for 2017 which outlines the key activities for the Agency in 2017, including the continuation of a wide ranging transformation programme which will result in a fundamental change in how the Agency engages with families and children, to move away from the status quo.
The Business Plan for 2017 is the third of a three year cycle and is aligned to the Agency’s Corporate Plan 2015 – 2017.
Speaking about the publication of the Business Plan Fred McBride, Chief Executive, Tusla said: “2017 marks the start of an important chapter for the Agency. We are moving forward to transform our services in a range of ways, to ensure that our structures, practice and the way we engage with families is effective in ensuring that our services are appropriate, timely, and proportionate. We want to move forward from the status quo and work with children, families and communities to ensure that our interventions maximise families’ dignity, autonomy and self-determination.
The increase in funding for 2017 from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs will allow Tusla to continue prioritising a number of areas of work and I look forward to continuing to work with the Minister and Department into the future to develop and improve the services we provide to children and families.”
The transformation programme is wide ranging programme which will enhance many aspects of the Agency, including organisational culture, HR strategy, governance systems, and further corporate functions.
As part of the transformation programme, the Agency has developed a new Child Protection and Welfare Strategy which will assist the Agency in providing a proportionate, timely and appropriate response to children and families, sharing responsibility and control with families and communities through co-created solutions and an inter-agency approach.
This will involve implementing a national approach to practice, which is based on the principles of ‘Children First’. The national approach to practice will be rolled out across all of the Agency’s services, with every function in the Agency being aligned to support the approach.
In addition to the ambitious transformation programme, key priorities for Tusla in 2017 include:
- The continuous reduction of unallocated cases (51% since the establishment of the Agency);
- Responding to policy and legislative requirements in the areas of Children First, adoption, aftercare, homelessness, early years service regulation, the School Attendance Strategy, disability, and separated children.
- Enhancing Tusla’s strategic approach to quality assurance through the introduction of the Agency’s Quality Assurance Framework.
- Building the safety and wellbeing of children and staff through the Child Protection and Welfare Strategy (CPWS);
- Developing the organisational structure and culture through the filling of key posts, the support of staff, and through enhancing collaboration.
- Embedding Prevention, Partnership, and Family Support (PPFS) into practice;
- Developing the governance and capacity of services.
- Developing the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Strategy and commencing implementation through the roll-out of the National Child Care Information System (NCCIS), the Children’s Information and Data Hub Project (O4C) and progress on data collection for Education Welfare Services (EWS).
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Tusla – Child and Family Agency was established on the 1st January 2014 and is now the dedicated State agency responsible for improving wellbeing and outcomes for children. It represents the most comprehensive reform of child protection, early intervention and family support services ever undertaken in Ireland. It is an ambitious move which brings together some 4,000 staff and an operational budget of over €600 million.
The Agency operates under the ‘Child and Family Agency Act 2013’, a progressive piece of legislation with children at its heart, and families viewed as the foundation of a strong healthy community where children can flourish. Partnership and co-operation in the delivery of seamless services to children and families are also central to the Act. The establishment represents an opportunity to think differently, where appropriate to behave differently and to seek a wide range of views regarding the most effective way of working together to deliver a wide range of services for children and families, an approach which is responsive, inclusive and outward looking.
Key achievements in 2016:
2016 was a successful year for the Agency, with significant progress in a number of key areas, including:
- 51% reduction in unallocated cases since the establishment of the Agency.
- Implementation of the Child Protection Notification System (CPNS).
- Roll out of PPFS initiatives. At the end of June 2016 (latest data available) there were 62 Child and Family Support Networks operating across the country with a further 49 planned for roll out.
- Expansion of EWS. As part of its remit for supporting school attendance, EWS worked with 3,751 children during the academic year September 2015 to August 2016, a sizeable increase on the previous year.
- In the nine months to September 2016 there were 424 new registrations/notifications of Early Years Services (EYS) representing an almost 4-fold increase on the number of new registrations/notifications for the same period in 2015.
- The development of services to support victims of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence (DSGBV) including the provision of additional outreach services.
- Implementation of the National Strategy for Continuing Professional Development establishing Personal Development Planning for all staff in the Agency.