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Coming Into Care


Why Do Children Come into Care?

Children come into care when they can no longer live healthy and happy lives under the care of their parents. The decision about a child being received into care is based on the child’s needs, following an assessment, regardless of the reason for the parents being unable to provide proper care and protection to the child.

There are different reasons a child may be placed in care. The child’s family may be unable to provide a suitable level of care and protection for the child. This may be due to long term illness, an ongoing mental health issue or addiction problem. Other reasons for admission to care include abuse (physical, sexual, emotional) or neglect.

However, although a family might experience these problems it does not always mean that a child will be taken into care. Many children and families can work through these issues without a child entering care, once appropriate supports are provided. This could include support from family support workers, social workers, youth workers, family resource centres, support and groups and counselling services.

At the end of December 2016, there were 6,258 children in care in Ireland.

Most children in care (93%) are placed in a family setting known as foster care.  Foster care is provided by approved foster families or relatives of the child who act as a foster family. Where a child is not placed in foster care they may be placed in a residential centre. 

Over half of children (59%) admitted to care from 2013-2015 were admitted on a voluntary basis, with the support of their parents or carers. The remainder were admitted by an order of the Court. Further details on the pathways into care can be found here.

Tusla reports that during 2015 49% of admissions to care were due to Child Welfare concerns, and 51% due to Child Abuse. Child abuse is categorised into physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse or neglect. Neglect is a significant cause for admission to care, and was the reason for admission in 33% of cases in 2015, and 30% of cases in 2014.

Further data relating to children in care is available here.
Snap shot of monthly and quarterly data is available here.
Information on becoming a foster care is available here.

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