Tusla receives a massive €40m funding boost
With mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse due to be implemented before the end of the year, Tusla, the Child and Family Agency has seen its funding increased by €40m.
The additional money announced in the Budget will also go towards family resource centres and out-of-hours supports, it emerged yesterday.
Overall, Tusla received a 5.7pc increase in funding for next year, which was higher than the €37m increase provided in 2017.
Minister for Children Katherine Zappone said that the additional investment will allow Tusla to recruit over 300 staff to respond to areas of identified risk and to meet increased demand for services.
This includes resources for responding to expected increases in referrals following the introduction of mandatory reporting which comes into effect from 11 December of this year; management of unallocated cases and developing aftercare services, she said.
“It will also allow for improvements in Tusla’s ICT systems and overall organisational structures,” the minister said.
Initiatives to extend out-of-hours services will ensure that all parts of the country have access to a social work service on a 24/7 basis, Ms Zappone said.
The additional funding brings the Tusla budget over €750m for the first time, according to the Minister.
Jim Gibson, Chief Operations Officer, Tusla, said the additional €40.6m in funding will assist the agency in developing services in key areas, including the establishment of a single, national out-of-hours social work service and will allow for the establishment of 11 new family resource centres at a cost of €1.7m.
In its response, the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC) Interim CEO Caroline O’Sullivan said that: “Child protection and welfare benefits hugely from prevention work, and so we welcome these additional monies to help protect children.”
“The ISPCC has campaigned on mandatory reporting for over a decade and, we are pleased that this has been prioritised in today’s budget so that Tusla can meet the demands associated with implementing this legislation,” Ms O’Sullivan said.
The ISPCC pointed out that a comprehensive out-of-hours social work service that is directly accessible to children and to families is essential to a robust child protection system.