Tusla - Ireland's Child & Family Agency

Tusla – Child and Family Agency welcomes the report published today by the Ombudsman for Children.

15th January 2017: Tusla – Child and Family Agency welcomes the report published today by the Ombudsman for Children. Tusla fully accepts the recommendations in this report, many of these are currently being implemented. Individual supports being provided in this case are being addressed among priority actions, which include:

  • A review of the current supports being offered to this child to ensure she reaches her potential in conjunction with the HSE;
  • Jointly working with the HSE to put in place any necessary supports related to any transition from her current home.
  • A review of supports being offered to all children with a moderate or severe disability in foster care.

We welcome the recognition by the Ombudsman of the significant high levels of motivation, and effort made by Tusla staff to advocate strongly for this child. Tusla staff work closely with children and families who require disability services to advocate for these services from those who provide disability services.

Jim Gibson, Chief Operations Officer, Tusla said: “Tusla accepts the recommendations made by the Ombudsman for Children, and acknowledge that improvements are required in the co-ordination of services for children with a moderate or severe disability.  In this case Tusla staff advocated strongly for the child to receive relevant supports and I welcome the recognition by the Ombudsman for Children of this continuous effort. Our equity of care principle means that all children are treated equally, in that they are assessed based on their individual needs with appropriate supports put in place, whether they have behavioural problems, a disability or face another challenge.

I have considered the report in detail, and the recommendations are currently being implemented, beginning with the individual supports being provided in this case. I will monitor their progress on a regular basis.

Foster carers are the backbone of our child protection system, they open their homes to children who can’t live with their own families, and provide an environment where the child can flourish. It’s crucial that they receive the necessary supports to allow them to provide a loving, effective family environment for the child or young person.

The development of the joint working protocol with the HSE is an example of Tusla and the HSE’s commitment to interagency collaboration in the best interests of the children we work with, however there is always room for improvement and we recognise that there is a clear need to make services for children with a disability more responsive to the needs of the child, and that the additional needs that result from the disability may place extra demands on the carers. External governance and assessment is important for the Agency, and it helps us to continue to develop and improve our services.

In this regard we would welcome further engagement with stakeholders and Government departments to examine the best way to deliver services for children and young people with a disability.”

Tusla and the HSE’s joint working protocol ‘Joint Protocol for Interagency Collaboration between the Health Service Executive and Tusla - Child and Family Agency to promote the best Interests of Children and Families’ supports good collaboration and working relationships to promote the best interests of the children, families and vulnerable adults with whom we work.

The protocol clarifies the separate and distinct roles, responsibilities and legal requirements of both agencies. The protocol also states that Children in state care or known to child protection services or in need of clinical intervention will be appropriately prioritised.

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