Tusla - Ireland's Child & Family Agency

Tusla publishes its Annual Report for 2020

23rd of July 2021: Tusla – Child and Family Agency has today published its Annual Report and Financial Statements for 2020, detailing the service activities and progress made by the Agency in its 7th year of operation.

As a critical service provider of essential frontline services for children and families, 2020 for Tusla was underscored by the effects of the pandemic on Irish society, and the Agency’s focus was to ensure that essential services for children and families were maintained. To achieve this, Tusla focused on three immediate pandemic response priorities: Child Protection; responding to Domestic, Sexual, and Gender Based Violence; and services and supports for Children in Care.

As the year progressed, Tusla worked to restore other key priorities, including supporting the early years sector to re-open, schools to return and key adoption support services to continue.

The 2020 annual report is the final one in the three-year planning and delivery framework of the Corporate Plan 2018-2020. Despite the additional challenges brought by the pandemic, 2020 was a year that saw the Agency continue its preparatory work on a comprehensive programme of reform, established and led by the Chief Executive, Bernard Gloster, since his appointment in late 2019, in consultation with the Board. Tusla recently published its Corporate Plan 2021-2023, which sets out this ambitious reform programme and the key priorities for the Agency for the next three years.

Speaking about the Tusla Annual Report and Annual Financial Statements for 2020, CEO of Tusla Bernard Gloster said, “As it was for all of society, 2020 was a very challenging year for the Child and Family Agency given the severity, prolonged nature and effects of the pandemic. Despite this, our staff of over 5,000 people and colleagues working in several hundred funded voluntary and professional organisations, redoubled their effort and continued to provide vital services in the protection, care and welfare of so many children and families. The agility shown along with the willingness and ability of all involved to rise to the challenge, to change roles, change hours, and change locations is commendable.

“I offer my gratitude to our own staff and to funded organisations, unions, our statutory partners in the HSE, An Garda Síochána, schools and professional associations, who put their shoulder to the wheel to support us in our response to the immediate pandemic priority areas of Child Protection, responding to Domestic and Sexual Violence, and maintaining Children in Care.”

Mr Gloster concluded, “As the year unfolded, we worked to reinstate other core services such as Adoption, Education Support and Early years, working with Minister O’Gorman and his Department to recalibrate our services from ‘crisis’ to ‘normal’ in the context of the pandemic response. This annual report demonstrates that wide breadth of activity and the work carried out in what was a greatly restricted social context”. 

Key Figures from 2020 

  • In 2020, the Agency managed 69,712 referrals* to Child Protection and Welfare Services.  
  • 22,356 children received a family support service in 2020. 
  • There were 5,882 children in care at the end of 2020, 91% of whom were in foster care. 
  • 2,943 young adults were in receipt of aftercare services at the end of 2020. 
  • In the 2019/2020 academic year, TESS (Tusla Education Support Service) worked with 5,372 children. 

*The number of referrals for 2020 is the result of a new and improved methodology of capturing all child protection and welfare referrals to the Agency. For previous years, a different methodology was used and focused on the number of referrals requiring a social work response only. This figure now accounts for referrals which may not require a child protection response but do require consideration for family support services.

Annual Report 2020 is available to view on our website at  tusla.ie/annualreport20

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