September 29, 2016
The Social Democrats are deeply concerned by the major disparity which exists across Ireland in terms of social worker allocation from Tusla – the Child and Family Agency.
Katherine Zappone, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, confirmed that at the end of July 54% of cases on Tusla’s books in the Kildare, Dublin South West and West Wicklow area had not been allocated a social worker.
She was responding to a Dáil question from the Social Democrats.
In Kildare, Dublin South West and West Wicklow (which is classified as one Tusla administrated area) 605 of the 1,122 cases on their list at the end of July had not been allocated a dedicated social worker.
The area with the second lowest allocation percentage rate was the Midlands where 36% (or 597 of the 1,638 cases) were ‘awaiting allocation’.
In contrast the percentage of Tusla cases in Mayo where a social worker had not been appointed at the end of July was just 3%. In Kerry it was just 5% and in Dublin South East/Wicklow and Donegal the figure was 6%.
Catherine Murphy T.D. who represents the Kildare North constituency reacted to the findings saying: “As Tusla has a primary responsibility to promote the safety and well-being of children in every county and region I’m deeply concerned by the high rates of cases awaiting the allocation of a social worker – not just in my constituency but in others around Ireland.”
She added: “While I recognise the fact that the number of allocated cases has decreased since December 2015 I still find it unsatisfactory that young people and their families needing specialist assistance in one part of the country must wait so much longer than those in other counties. This is not fair and is unacceptable.”