Update: Children & Families in Need, 4th August 2015

4th August 2015 - Bernard Durkan TD

QUESTION NOS:  141 & 142

DÁIL QUESTIONS addressed to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Dr. James Reilly)
by Deputy Bernard J. Durkan
for WRITTEN ANSWER on 08/07/2015  


 
 *  To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the criteria used by his Department to determine the number of children or families deemed to be in need for whatever reason; the extent to which he expects to be in a position to make adequate provision to meet such requirements in the short to medium term; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

                                                                          – Bernard J. Durkan

For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 8th July, 2015.

*  To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the methodology used to identify or determine the number of families or children deemed to be at risk/in need for whatever reason; if he is satisfied that the provisions in place remain adequate to deal with the situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

                                                                          – Bernard J. Durkan

For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 8th July, 2015.

 
REPLY.
My Department has a range of systems in place to ensure it  is informed of risk to children and families and the measures put in place to minimise these risks. Child Protection and Welfare Services provided by Tusla, the Child and Family Agency are demand led services.  Monthly, quarterly and annual reports are received from Tusla, in respect of its functions, including detailed reporting on key performance indicators. These reports give a good indication of the number of children and families in receipt of or requiring intervention.  The reports also provide statistical evidence of improvements to Child Welfare and Protection Services and highlights challenges and areas where further improvement is required.  For example, data is received on referrals and assessment processes, at national level, broken down by administrative regions and local areas.    Tusla’s annual service planning process  is informed by monitoring and performance data from each administrative area.  

Officials frequently meet with Tusla to review areas in need of improvement, and I also meet with Tusla on a quarterly basis in this regard.   There are protocols in place for the Agency to inform my Department of specific issues where risks are identified and to ensure that robust management responses are put in place.  

There is a wide range of child  and family support services available through both the statutory and non statutory sectors.  These include services provided by Government Departments, other state agencies and an extensive network of non governmental organisations.  In the area of child welfare and protection services we now have, with the establishment of the Child and Family Agency, the necessary structure to ensure the provision of a more responsive and integrated service to children, young people and families at risk.   The Agency, in discharging its functions, places a strong emphasis on prevention, early intervention, family support,  therapeutic and care interventions, all of which  are key to the provision of integrated, multi-disciplinary services for vulnerable children and families.

Separately, my Department chairs an Inter Departmental Group on the implementation of Children First.  This group works to ensure that all bodies working with children, including those with particular vulnerabilities, are aware of their responsibilities with regard to the welfare and protection of children and are provided with the necessary training and guidance to support them in this work.

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