Wednesday, 10 July 2019
Department of Children and Youth Affairs
I understand the Deputy's question to be about the practice methodology used by Tusla to carry out its child protection and welfare function.
In 2017, a decision was made by Tusla to adopt the Signs of Safety as the first national child protection methodology for Ireland. I understand that the implementation of Signs of Safety is well underway, and I have been informed by Tusla that it has been well received by frontline practitioners and by management.
The practice is safety-oriented and strengths-focused, and encourages practitioners to engage in a meaningful way with children and families. Signs of Safety focuses on the use of evidence and current research to inform planning, and I have been advised that the reception among social workers has been positive.
Tusla has engaged in a significant program of training for practitioners and practice leaders, delivered by the co-creator and leading experts in the practice through a series of themed, intensive workshops.
Signs of Safety is an evidence-based practice, and part of the implementation of the practice is to assess at a national level how successful that implementation has been.
Quality Assurance audits in relation to Signs of Safety were commenced in November 2018. The first audit focused on the rollout of Signs of Safety, and found that more than two thirds of files sampled showed evidence of its use. I have been informed that the next phase of auditing will evaluate the quality of social work practice and decision making over time, using the methodology.