Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs Anne Rabbitte has called on Minister Katherine Zappone to outline the course of action she will take to address the serious concerns raised regarding the handling of referrals by Tusla.
Deputy Rabbitte made the comments following a report aired on RTE’s This Week Programme earlier today. Grainia Long of the ISPCC highlighted serious deficiencies with the functioning of Tusla services in the Carlow, Kilkenny and South Tipperary region.
The report found that Tusla was non-compliant in 5 out of 6 of its own national standards.
Deputy Rabbitte said, “The comments made by Grainia Long are deeply concerning and show that significant problems still remain with the operation of Tusla services. It’s alarming that Tusla has been deemed non-complaint with its own national standards.
“The report found that there is a serious problem with communication between Tusla and An Garda Síochána. Tusla has been slow to deal with referrals made by An Garda Síochána and bring about an intervention where necessary. Vulnerable children who are at risk of neglect or abuse are falling between the cracks as a result of this.
“This has been a long running problem, but we have seen little in the way of action from Minister Zappone. One of the key issues is the lack of accountability within Tusla when it comes to the handling of referrals. There is no mechanism in place to ensure all referrals are appropriately dealt with in a timely manner as soon as they are made. Tusla needs a new ICT system to allow for this, but Minister Zappone has failed to deliver the changes that are necessary.
“There have been numerous reports published which expose serious problems in the manner in which Tusla handles referrals. This issue arose 6 years ago following a review of Tusla services and was discussed more recently at a meeting of the Policing Authority held on February 26th last.
“We are still waiting for decisive action by Government. Minister Zappone needs to set out a clear plan of action to resolve what is a long running problem. In particular, we need to see Tusla provided with the ICT system it needs to properly manage referrals,” concluded Deputy Rabbitte.