Statement on coverage of a National Review Panel report in relation to a case in Galway
Tusla – Child and Family Agency notes the coverage of a National Review Panel report today in relation to a case in Galway. We accept the findings and recommendations made by the NRP and key learnings have been identified and are being addressed.
Engagements with those affected including young people, families, and the community is in line with best practice, to ensure their wellbeing and limit any adverse effects this situation may have on them.
We are concerned that this report has been put into the public domain prior to the publication date and in advance of the completion of a number of important steps which take place in the days before a publication of this nature.
We are very mindful of the devastating impact on the victims in this case and the effect that this has had on them, and their families. We now know that the decisions made in 2007 and 2011 were not robust enough to keep the children safe.
However it is important to highlight that this report reflects a certain point in time, prior to the establishment of Tusla which has resulted in an improvement in standards, staffing and services. Since 2014, social workers have actively worked with the young people involved, where that’s in line with their wishes, and will continue to do so.
Throughout our work, Tusla strives to protect children and keep them safe from harm. Currently, foster care placements are subject to a number of safeguards including on-going Garda vetting for foster carers and adult family members, regular visits to the household from children’s social workers and foster carers’ social workers, and inspections of fostering services by HIQA and in depth aftercare supports. When an allegation of abuse is made, Tusla takes immediate action to protect any child or children who may be at immediate risk. Currently all serious concerns and allegations in foster care are managed in line with Tusla’s operational guidance for staff. Our actions are always informed by the best interests and safety of the children involved.
Across Ireland thousands of people open their homes and lives to children in need and at risk and provide loving and caring foster homes for children to grow up in. Foster carers are the backbone of our child protection system and research consistently tells us that children do best within a stable and loving family environment. We are extremely grateful to foster carers for their commitment to improving the lives of children and we continuously improve our services to help and support them.