Tusla launches new Child Protection and Welfare Strategy
Agency adopts new national practice approach to child protection and welfare
Tusla – Child and Family Agency today launched its new Child Protection and Welfare Strategy for 2017-2022. The Strategy is a central part of Tusla’s on-going programme of transformation and includes a new national approach to practice, the Signs of Safety, which will ensure that all staff will engage with children and families using one consistent approach.
Speaking at the launch, Fred McBride, Tusla Chief Executive, said “The creation of Tusla in 2014 represented a fundamental shift in the provision of family support, child protection, educational welfare and alternative care services. Since the Agency’s establishment , we have led the most comprehensive reform of these services in Ireland and our new Child Protection and Welfare Strategy is a hugely important step in this journey.”
The Strategy was officially launched by Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone TD, who said “I welcome this comprehensive and child centred Child Protection and Welfare Strategy, launched today by Tusla. I am very aware that this is a sensitive and challenging area of work; families will be clearly supported and children protected by Tusla. Social workers will be guided in their work and aspirations by the high expectations, which they support, in this Strategy."
The strategy is underpinned by the principles of Children First, which inform best practice in child protection and welfare, and has been informed by research as well as the findings of HIQA inspections, the National Review Panel and Tusla’s own quality reviews.
Speaking at the launch, Cormac Quinlan, Interim Director of Policy and Strategy, Tusla, said “Creating effective safety requires collaborative working with key partner agencies, families and communities. Our staff are our most significant resource and their development will ensure our success. As a national Agency we have a clear opportunity with the launch of this Strategy not only to improve our services but to establish ourselves as leaders of best practice.”
Outlining Tusla’s new approach to practice, Dr Andrew Turnell, Co-Creator of the Signs of Safety, said “The Signs of Safety is designed to enable us to carry out child protection work with a rigorous focus on child safety and in partnership with children, families and their wider networks of support. I’m very excited to be bringing the Signs of Safety to Ireland look forward to working with Tusla to create rigourous, human, child-centred child protection practice and make the Irish child protection system the envy of the developed world.”
Professor Eileen Munro, Reader in Social Policy in the London School of Economics and author of the Munro Review of Child Protection in the UK spoke about the inherent uncertainty in child protection work, saying "Risk and uncertainty are unavoidable parts of our work in child protection. Whether we leave a child at home or remove them, there is some uncertainty about what will happen. Intelligent management of risk involves weighing up the good and bad in the options for a child. For a child, there is no guaranteed safe option; when a child is removed from his or her family, it creates loss and risks as well as some safety.”