Reports, Data and Fact Sheets
Reports and Data
Section 8 of the Child Care Act, 1991 requires Tusla, the Child & Family Agency, to publish a report annually detailing the adequacy of the child care and family support services available. This report, the Review of Adequacy, not only provides information on the adequacy of services available, but also provides information on the needs of a child who is not receiving adequate care and protection.
The reports for the years 2007 – 2014 can be accessed on the Tusla website.
Tusla also provides performance data on a monthly and quarterly basis and these reports are available here.
Glossary of Terms
1. Referral: Where Tusla are made aware, by whatever means, about a concern regarding a child and where the eligibility criteria are met, a new referral is created by the Social Work Service through the completion of the standard Intake Record.
Child Welfare Concern: A problem experienced directly by a child, or by the family of a child, that is seen to impact negatively on the child’s health, development and welfare, and that warrants assessment and support, but may or may not require a child protection response.
Child Protection Concern: The term ‘child protection concern’ is used when there are reasonable grounds for believing that a child may have been, is being or is at risk of being physically, sexually or emotionally abused or neglected.
• Physical abuse of a child is that which results in actual or potential physical harm from an interaction or lack of interaction which is reasonably within the control of a parent or person in a position of responsibility, power or trust. There may be single or repeated incidents.
• Sexual abuse occurs when a child is used by another person for his/her gratification or sexual arousal, or for that of others.
• Emotional abuse is normally found in the relationship between a parent/carer and a child, and occurs when a child’s developmental needs for affection, approval, consistency and security are not met.
• Neglect can be defined in terms of omission where a child suffers significant harm or impairment of development by being deprived of food, clothing, warmth, hygiene, intellectual stimulation, supervision and safety, attachment to and affection from adults, or medical care.
2. Screening: The first step taken when a Duty Social Worker receives a new referral is to ensure that the following eligibility criteria are met:
• The subject of the referral is a child or an adult who has experienced abuse as a child;
• The concern is about the child’s welfare.
3. Preliminary Enquiry: Following a referral to a Tusla Child Welfare & Protection Duty Team, and following ‘screening’, preliminary enquiries involve clarifying the details provided by the reporter and checking the Child Welfare & Protection Service’s records, and where appropriate other internal Tusla records.
4. Initial Assessment: Initial assessment involves meeting the child, the child’s parents and contacting relevant professionals, and is carried out following the receipt of a referral by Tusla Child Welfare & Protection Services. The focus of the initial assessment is to make a preliminary determination of risk and unmet need
5. Further Assessment: Further assessment may be required following initial assessment or at any time in the course of child protection or child welfare/family support planning. The focus of further assessment, and the model of assessment used, is dependent on the circumstances of the case.
6. Open Case: An open case is one which is assessed as needing a dedicated (allocated) social work service. A case refers to an individual child. There could be several cases opened when a family is referred.
CPNS: The Child Protection Notification System (CPNS) is a Tusla record of every child about whom there are unresolved child protection issues, resulting in the child being the subject of a Child Protection Plan. The decision to place a child on the CPNS is made at a Child Protection Conference.
The national interim CPNS went live on 1 October, 2015. Access to the CPNS is strictly controlled and confined to members of:
• Designated staff from out of hours GP’s (HSE funded)
• Children’s hospitals
• Maternity hospitals
• Emergency Departments in Acute Hospitals
• An Garda Síochána
Child Protection Conference: A Child Protection Conference (CPC) is an interagency and inter-professional meeting, convened by the designated person in Tusla. The purpose of a Child Protection Conference is to facilitate the sharing and evaluation of information between professionals and parents/carers, to consider the evidence as to whether a child has suffered or is likely to suffer significant harm, to decide whether a child should have a formal Child Protection Plan and if so to formulate such a plan.
Child Protection Plan: A Child Protection Plan is an interagency plan that sets out what changes need to happen to make sure that the child or young person is safe and that their needs are met. Agreed at the Child Protection Conference, the aim of the plan is to reduce or remove the identified risks so that a decision can be made to discontinue the Child Protection Plan. It will also list the support and help to be given to the family by the different agencies and what the family is expected to do to make the changes happen.
Allocated Social Worker: Each child in care is assigned a social worker responsible for a number of things, including the preparation and review of the child’s care plan, ensuring their placement is meeting their needs and working with the child and their family to ensure the best possible outcome.
All open cases should have an allocated social worker to provide a dedicated service to the child. This service includes the assessment of the child and their family situation, investigation of the concern that brought the child to the attention of the social work department and to co-ordinate the services needed for the child’s welfare and/or protection to be upheld.
In cases where an allocated social worker is not in place, the case is monitored at principal social worker level and managed by the duty social work team.
Written Care Plan: A care plan is a written document that contains the important information about a child, such as their family’s details, who they live with, where they go to school, access arrangements with family and how their health, well-being and education are to be promoted.
Figures provided by Tusla for children with a written care plan only include care plans that have formally completed the review process required under the Child Care Regulations 1995. Where a review is taking place, the existing care plan remains in place.
Regions & Areas: Tusla services are provided nationwide in 17 service areas, as part of 4 regions; Dublin North East, Dublin Mid-Leinster, South & West.
Further information on contacting your local duty Social Work team can be found here.