Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Tuesday, 10 May 2022
Joint Committee On Children, Equality, Disability, Integration And Youth
Foster Care Issues and the Loss of Positive Care Services: Engagement with Tusla
Mr. Ger Brophy:
That is great. I know as a team leader, principal and social worker over the years that differences of opinion can occur. Tusla's role is to advocate for that child. You have a dedicated social worker although I know we have problems with unallocated children. That may happen and cause one of the blocks in these situations. You advocate for the child's rights. That can be difficult in a family because you have the natural family and parents who may want a particular way or style for the child to be brought up. The length of time a child is in care, or the engagement with the natural parents, can be one thing. There may also be a difference of opinion. Parents in the natural family may have a very established pattern of dealing with children and it may take a while for that pattern to change or it may take time for Tusla to adapt and see how the particular foster parents parent best. There is a process. We try to achieve that balance. It is a very personal thing. We talk a lot in child protection and welfare about creating a network. Basically we are doing that in foster care all the time. These carers are becoming that network. You are involving the school and if there are therapies involved we also try to involve those too. Increasingly, as well as the emphasis on providing therapeutic hubs we are providing all sorts of support to foster carers. It could be equine therapy or other support. It may be short term or long term but we try and provide it as it is needed.