Friday 23 February 2018

Discovery of 700 Tusla files lying in office lead to national audit

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Tusla carried out a national audit after more than 700 files relating to cases were discovered lying in an office.

For the last seven days Tusla - Child and Family Agency has found itself embroiled in the garda whistleblower scandal after it emerged that a 'copy and paste' blunder led to Sgt Maurice McCabe being accused of a sex assault on a young girl.

In May 2015 it was reported that over 700 files, relating to cases in Laois and Offaly, had been discovered in an office in Portlaoise. A total of 822 unacknowledged garda referrals were also discovered.

The files relate to cases dating from the 1980s up to 2015.

The Irish Daily Star is reporting that the files were handed over to gardaí but it has since been determined that less than 20 of these allegations can now be investigated due to the passage of time.

Now, in a statement, Tusla has confirmed that following an audit of social work files in 2014 a comprehensive action plan was submitted to HIQA to "ensure filing and record management processes in the area were improved".

The statement continued: "The files related to a range of concerns including abuse and neglect and were awaiting allocation at the time. All cases on the waiting list were reviewed and assessed in line with best practice."

Tusla said it has now established a team to deal with cases like this.

"There is now an adult retrospective team in place to manage adult retrospective cases, and a robust system in place for the review of all cases awaiting allocation. Additionally, there is a new tracking database in place for all referrals and new procedures and tracking in respect of Garda referrals.

"The number of cases awaiting allocation has significantly reduced both nationally and locally with a reduction of 44% in the Midlands area between June and December 2016.”

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