Thursday, 2 June 2022
Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
Children in Care
21. To ask the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth the supports that are in place for young people leaving care; the number of young people that have not been allocated an aftercare worker from 2017 to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28472/22]
I can inform Deputy O’Connor that Tusla has a statutory obligation to prepare an aftercare plan for every young person leaving care who is eligible under the Child Care Act 1991, as amended. This plan is informed by an assessment of need carried out prior to the young person leaving care.
The plan sets out the assistance that may be provided by Tusla to the eligible person from the age of 18. Specifically the Act states that any assessment of need shall include an assessment by Tusla of the needs (if any) of the person being assessed in relation to: education, financing and budgeting matters, training and employment, health and wellbeing, personal and social development, accommodation and family support.
There are a number of supports available to care leavers as follows:
Tusla provides financial support to eligible care leavers who are engaged in a qualifying educational course or training programme. The ‘aftercare allowance’ amounts to €300 per week and is available to care leavers up to the age of 23.
In addition, care leavers may also be entitled to a number of additional financial supports in respect of education which include the SUSI Grant (which is payable at the higher rate for care leavers) and the Tusla Dormant Accounts funded Bursary Scheme.Care leavers not engaged in education and not in employment are eligible for full Jobseekers Allowance (€203.00) rather than the reduced rate (€112.70), provided that they were in the care of Tusla for 12 months prior to their 18thbirthday.
All eligible care leavers are supported through aftercare services. Care Leavers, depending on need, may be allocated an aftercare worker, and all care leavers, without exception or age limit, can attend drop-in centres organised by the Tusla aftercare service.Eligible care leavers are also entitled to an aftercare grant. This is a once off payment paid to the eligible adult when they leave a placement and is to assist with rent/ deposit and startup costs associated with initial moving home expenses.
In relation to the Deputy’s query on allocation of aftercare workers, Tusla has advised that they began to collate the metric in relation to young people/ young adults and allocation of an aftercare worker in 2018, with the introduction of the new Aftercare Policy, and accordingly the data provided does not include 2017 as requested by the Deputy.
The below table provides the number of young people in receipt of aftercare services who were assessed as needing an aftercare worker, and of these the number with/without an aftercare worker at year end for the year 2018 – 2021 and at the end Q1 2022. These are the latest figures available.
|Year||# Assessed||#with Worker||%with worker||# awaiting|
Tusla’s Business Plan for 2022 committed to improving the availability and quality of aftercare services for young people and includes a commitment to a 10% increase in the number of young people 18 years and over who have an allocated aftercare worker where their aftercare plan determines this as a need.