Written answers

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Department of Children and Youth Affairs

Children in Care

Photo of Denise MitchellDenise Mitchell (Dublin Bay North, Sinn Fein)
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91. To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she is satisfied that residential centres for vulnerable children are adequately staffed and resourced; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29683/19]

Photo of Katherine ZapponeKatherine Zappone (Dublin South West, Independent)
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Approximately 6 % of  the 5,989 children in care in Ireland live in residential settings. In April 2019 this amounted to  370 young people.  Individual residential settings care for  small numbers of children, often no more than two or three.

All centres are inspected against the relevant standards and regulations and  the majority of inspections show evidence of positive relationships between staff and young people, and that the needs of the young people being met.  In addition, Tulsa registers private centres and conditions are placed on the registration of private centres who fall below the standards expected, for instance the number of children in the centre.  Centres that are struggling to meet standards do not survive in such a regulated environment.

The Deputy asks about staffing and resourcing in residential centres. I have been concerned to learn that in some centres there is a high turnover of staff and a dependency on agency staff. I am also aware of injuries sustained by some staff in the course of their work and the impact this has on stability in the centre.

Residential care is a small, but vital part of our care system and the basis for successful outcomes for the young people who live in residential settings relies on the experience, quality and resilience of the management and staff group in each centre. 

My officials have been engaged with Tusla on the challenges posed in residential care and work is ongoing to provide a greater level of assessment and therapeutic input to the centres from the ACTS Team (Assessment, Counselling, Therapy and Support Team).

 I also welcome CORU's upcoming accreditation of Social Care Courses and registration of Social Care Workers, as I believe this will lead to the enhancement of professional social care as the lead profession in working with troubled young people. 

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