Tusla - Ireland's Child & Family Agency

Annual Report Press Release

5th August 2020: Tusla – Child and Family Agency has today published its Annual Report for 2019.

The report details Tusla’s service activities and progress made by the organisation in its sixth year of operation. During 2019, Tusla managed 56,561 referrals to child protection and welfare services in 2019; an increase of 3% on the previous year, and an increase of 30% since its establishment in 2014. A further 24,828 children received a family support service from Tusla in 2019. Tusla also has responsibility for a range of other services involving thousands of interactions, including Tusla Education Support Service (TESS), Adoption services, Foster Care, Residential care, Children’s Services Regulation, and others.

Since the establishment of the agency in 2014, Tusla has made significant progress towards the provision of consistent and appropriate services for children and families in communities across the country.

Speaking about the launch of the Annual Report 2019, Pat Rabbitte, Chairperson, Tusla, said:

“In 2019 Tusla demonstrated significant and constructive progress in delivering the mandate which has been given to us by government, a mandate that is far wider than is generally appreciated, is often complex and will always be challenging. It is gratifying to be able to report progress evident across the Agency and I have been consistently encouraged by the professionalism and level of commitment by staff in the course of their work.

The recruitment and retention of social workers continued to be an area of concern for the agency in 2019, and Tusla sought to develop new initiatives to attract social work graduates in 2019 and is investing in strategies to improve staff retention. In particular, the conversion of 408 of agency staff to direct employment contracts was a significant achievement in 2019.

Overall, Tusla must continue to improve and innovate, be prepared to admit its mistakes and to evolve a culture not hidebound by the past. The Board and the CEO are committed to a major programme of continuous improvement for which we require support from many quarters”

Bernard Gloster, CEO, Tusla, said:

“This report reflects the activity of the Agency in an environment which is increasingly busy, complex and challenged on many fronts. Despite that context there is clear evidence of much good work and it is important to recognise the contribution of our teams who are present in every community in Ireland.”

Key achievements by the agency in 2019:

  • Tusla Education Support Services worked with 6,291 children in the 2018/19 academic year
  • There were 2,308 inspections of early years’ services in 2019
  • An agency conversion initiative to convert frontline whole-time-equivalent agency staff to direct employment contracts, which provided for greater continuity of care through workforce stabilisation, together with more standardisation of approach and consistency in service delivery
  • The enablement of over 3,800 staff with laptops, smartphones and MiFis;
  • Acknowledgement by the Expert Assurance Group (EAG) of the significant progress achieved by the agency in progressing the actions in the Strategic Action Plan arising from the HIQA investigation into the management of allegations of child sexual abuse against adults of concern by the Child and Family Agency (November 2018).
  • Further implementation of the Child Protection and Welfare Strategy to continuously embed improvement in our ability to create the environment where our experienced and dedicated staff are supported to implement our national approach to practice, the Signs of Safety.
  • The national roll-out of the National Childcare Information System (NCCIS), which saw 17 social work areas having access to one integrated information system to manage child protection and welfare cases;
  • The development and expansion of early intervention work through the Prevention, Partnership and Family Support programme.
  • Implementation of the National Intake Framework for the School Completion Programme (SCP);
  • Integration of governance structures for all of Tusla’s four regulatory functions which are responsible for practice audit and reviews in all areas and residential services;
  • Tusla Fostering Week held in October 2019, which led to over 400 enquiries;
  • Rosebrook Children’s Residential Centre and Ballydowd Special Care Unit achieved Investing in Children Membership Awards in 2019;
  • Post-adoption therapeutic support services becoming a national service with new offices in Cork and Galway in addition to the Dublin office;
  • Development of the new Child and Youth Participation Strategy for 2019–2023;
  • The rebrand of Education and Welfare Services to Tusla Education Support Service (TESS);
  • Roma Community Conference about responses to domestic and sexual violence held in 2019 with over 80 participants from these communities in attendance.
  • The re-establishment of the Tusla Advisory Group (TAG), which consists of a group of young people aged between 18 and 25 years old who have been through the care system. It acts as an advisory group to Tusla on matters relating to care and aftercare.
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