Extra social workers but still no database of sex abusers
Published 30/11/2010 | 05:00
HEALTH chiefs have filled almost all of the extra social worker posts promised after the release of damning reports into sex abuse.
But the Health Service Executive (HSE) has not yet established a computer database that can highlight potential serial abusers, despite it being promised almost a year ago.
The HSE committed to creating 200 additional posts after the Ryan Report into sex abuse at state institutions was released in May 2009.
This commitment was reiterated by Children's Minister Barry Andrews earlier this year after it was confirmed that almost 200 children died in state care over the past decade.
The HSE has confirmed some 198 workers have now taken up their new positions. A spokeswoman said the remaining two posts are expected to be filled by the end of the year.
She added that "42 of these posts were filled by existing temporary employees who are now in full time positions".
"The remainder are new recruits to the HSE," she told the Irish Independent.
"The HSE can confirm that, where an existing temporary employee taking up a full-time post has created a vacancy, they are being replaced to ensure that there is full effect to the intention of the Government to provide 200 additional new social workers."
The HSE also confirmed a promised new computer database has not yet been set up.
It continues to rely on its laborious child abuse filing system, which causes delays in getting vital information.
For decades the HSE only filed child abuse reports under the name of the victim and not the alleged abuser. This forced staff to go through each file manually when trying to find information for the Commission of Investigation on particular alleged abusers.
A new database was due to be set up in January of this year, allowing them to locate the name of the alleged abuser more quickly.
The new system would also quickly highlight a particular individual if a series of allegations have been made.
But a spokeswoman last night confirmed that the system has yet to be purchased, with plans to "move to procurement stage in 2011".
When completed, the new National Child Care Information System will capture key information such as referrals, assessments within certain timeframes, waiting lists, reviews of care plans, and length of time in care.