Fewer social workers helping foster families
THE percentage of foster families allocated a social worker fell in several areas of the country last year and was as low as 72.3pc in Dublin and surrounding districts, internal HSE figures show, writes Eilish O'Regan.
By October last, the percentage with a social worker dropped to 88.1pc in the HSE South, compared to 90pc at the end of 2008.
In the HSE West, the percentage fell from 80pc to 77.4pc and in Dublin mid-Leinster it went down from 76pc to 72.3pc. It increased in the north east from 69pc to 85.8pc.
The allocation of a social worker to foster families is essential for several reasons including arranging child assessments, care plans and reviews.
A spokesman for the HSE South said: "There was no reduction in the number of social workers allocated to foster carers up to October 2009.
"However, since then a percentage reduction has occurred due to three vacancies."
A spokesman for the HSE in Dublin mid-Leinster said: "Social workers are exempt from the current government moratorium on recruitment and promotion in the public service and a recruitment campaign by national recruitment services is currently being implemented to fill vacant social worker posts."