Tusla - Ireland's Child & Family Agency

National Review Panel Publishes 2017 Annual Report and 5 Individual Reports

Tusla – Child and Family Agency notes the publication today of the National Review Panel’s Annual Report 2017 and a number of reports relating to children and young people who were either known to child protection services or in the care of the state.

Commenting on today’s publication, Brian Lee, Director of Quality Assurance, Tusla said: “The National Review Panel’s Annual Report 2017 highlights a decrease in the number of child deaths relating to children known to child protection services or in care (4% less than 2016).”

The Annual Report shows that out of 22 notifications, 17 children/ young people were known to child protection services and five were in care. Of the five children in care at the time of their death two children died from natural causes, one child died from suicide, one child died as a result of a domestic accident, and one died from an unknown cause.

The reports accompanying today’s Annual Report relate to the deaths of five children and young people who started receiving services a number of years ago and in line with the agency’s focus on continuous improvement, many changes and improvements in practice have been implemented since the establishment of Tusla as a dedicated agency for children and families.

“The death of each child or young person, as detailed in these reports is a tragedy and I extend my sympathy to anyone affected by these very sad deaths. The reports published alongside the Annual Report showed areas of very strong practice including supportive, consistent and child centred support, good interagency working relationships, and efforts made by all professionals to develop positive working relationships, and a consistent thread of oversight. However, reports provided by the NRP are very useful to the Agency as they highlight areas for key learning and improvements as we endeavour to continuously improve services for the children and families we work with.”

In 2015 we set out to understand the challenges Tusla faced in child protection and welfare services by reviewing research and reports and undertaking extensive consultation with our stakeholders.

This work culminated last year in the publication of a five-year Child Protection and Welfare Strategy which sets out our strategic vision to provide appropriate, proportionate and timely responses to children at risk or in need. We are continuously working to improve child protection and welfare services by:

  1. Implementing one evidence-informed national practice approach (the Signs of Safety);
  2. Having better and more consistent thresholds for social work involvement;
  3. Creating a positive learning environment for staff;
  4. Growing proactive relationships with our partners including children, families and their extended networks;

Since the establishment of the agency in 2014, developments include:

  • The development of inter-agency protocols with key partners;
  • Country-wide roll out of a national childcare information system (NCCIS);
  • Continuous reduction in cases awaiting allocation to a social worker;
  • The roll out of an Emergency Out of Hours Service;
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