Thursday 19 October 2017

'We want answers' - Grandmother of children reported for being 'malnourished' claims Tusla have no record of case

Stock Image: PA
Stock Image: PA
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

A woman whose two grandchildren were reported to Tusla by their school principal for being "malnourished, neglected and dirty" has claimed that Tusla has no record of the complaint.

Martina* says that her daughter was contacted by a woman from Tusla by telephone back in 2015.

Her daughter was shocked by what she described as "unfounded claims" and asked the woman to visit her home to see that her children were properly cared for.

However, Martina claimed that the Tusla representative refused and said she would be back in contact, but they have received no further communication.

Following further calls to the child agency, Martina says her daughter was told there was no record of the call or the complaint on their system.

She contacted RTÉ Radio 1's Liveline about the matter, and says Liveline have since been in touch to say that more people phoned in with similar experiences after Martina spoke out.

"We are left with a situation that there is a complaint made against my daughter’s children that has no basis. It hasn't been investigated," Martina told Independent.ie.

"There was complaints of malnourishment, lack of sleep, systematic neglect and that my grandson suffered from diabetes and we were not dealing with it," she said.

Her grandchildren are now aged 13 and 8 and she says the fact they haven't had a chance to refute the principal's complaint has left "a dark cloud lying over them."

"My grandson is going into secondary school with a tag on him, that Tusla are involved in his welfare and wellbeing but actually they are not involved as they are not investigating it.

"We got a letter from the doctor proving my grandson did not have diabetes and yet the claim still went in," she added.

When asked if it was possible that the call came from someone pretending to be an agent of Tusla, Martina rejected this, as she seen a copy of the letter sent by the principal.

She says the whole incident has had a negative impact on her family and is demanding an answer.

"The person who made the complaint felt she had a valid complaint but we were not allowed the courtesy of due process.

"We were not allowed to defend ourselves. I am a very strong woman but this whole thing has nearly put me in bad health."

"All I want to know is what is going on, what went wrong and how our complaint fell through the cracks," she added.

Tusla said: “Tusla – Child and Family Agency does not comment on individual cases. This is to protect the privacy and wellbeing of the children and families with whom we work.

"Tusla screens and assesses all child protection concerns received in line with ‘Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children'.”

*Martina was used to protect the woman's real identity

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