Tuesday, 14 February 2012
Department of Health
Health Service Staff
John Browne (Wexford, Fianna Fail)
Question 71: To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if the 60 additional social workers promised for 2011 were not in place, the reason this was the case; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8087/12]
Frances Fitzgerald (Minister, Department of Children; Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael)
The HSE made provision for the recruitment of an additional 62 social workers in 2011. The recruitment process is being managed by the HSE National Recruitment Service. The HSE indicated in December 2011 that all of these posts had been either filled or accepted. I am advised by the HSE that twenty five individuals have already taken up duty with the remainder expected to come on stream in the coming weeks. My Department will continue to closely monitor the position with regard to the recruitment of the additional personnel.
The additional social workers are being targeted at priority areas of the service having regard to an overall assessment of workload undertaken by the National Director and his team. The recruitment of the additional social workers is one element of a wider change agenda within the HSE, through which I believe we can deliver better outcomes for children and families. This reform agenda will lead to the establishment of a new Child and Family Support Agency which will provide a dedicated focus on child protection and support families in need.