Dr Katherine Zappone TD, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, has acknowledged the
publication of the most recent report of the Disclosures Tribunal
Thursday 11th October, 2018
In March 2017 Minister Zappone directed HIQA to undertake a statutory investigation into Tusla. She believed that the poor handling by Tusla of information provided to it, arising from the Garda Sergeant Maurice McCabe case indicated a possible serious risk to the health and welfare of children.
HIQA published their report in June 2018.
In advance of the publication of the HIQA report and since then, measures have been undertaken to improve Tusla practice and procedures. This is an on-going process.
These include issues that emerged throughout the Tribunal such as the poor management of retrospective allegations of abuse, records management and inadequate supervision of social workers. These issues are of great public concern.
Minister Zappone said “People must have trust in our public services, particularly on child protection matters.”
The Minister commented: “HIQA identified risks within the systems for managing referrals, safety planning and managing retrospective cases. I am aware that work is ongoing in Tusla to improve all practices and procedures on child protection, including retrospective cases. Tusla's Board has approved a comprehensive plan to include introducing specialist teams to address these complex risks. This plan is being implemented by Tusla and is overseen by an independent expert group established by me on foot of the HIQA report.”
The Minister has successfully secured funding of just over €786 million for Tusla in Budget 2019, an increase of over €30 million on 2018. The additional funding will consolidate progress on current reforms and enable Tusla to implement the action plan following the HIQA statutory investigation.
The Minister added “I will be considering the findings of the Tribunal in detail over the coming days.However, I am extremely disappointed to note that the tribunal found Tusla slow to respond to the public request for cooperation by the tribunal, and other criticisms about Tusla’s engagement with the Tribunal. I will be asking the Board of Tusla to respond to this and the other matters raised in the report."
Notes for Editors
· HIQA carried out a statutory investigation at the direction of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, and the report of was published in June 2018 and is on the HIQA website.
· All of the key findings have been addressed in the action plan that was approved by Tusla's Board in August 2018, including:
o a child protection model, Signs of Safety, has been introduced and improvements in screening child protection referrals and initial safety planning are being implemented
o a revised policy and procedure for managing retrospective allegations of abuse will be published in the coming weeks, supported by an implementation plan.
o regional specialist personnel and teams are being formed, bringing together skills and experience to assess retrospective allegations of abuse.
o Joint working with An Garda Síochána is being strengthened, including designated social workers to work with Garda Protective Services Units around the country
o the Chief Social Worker's office has been established with a key task in ensuring that good social work practice is identified and shared across the whole organisation the National Child Care Information System (NCCIS) has been successfully rolled out in all Tusla areas. All areas are working off a shared database platform for the first time.
a framework for performance and accountability is being developed and a performance management system across Tusla is also being implemented.