Monday 23 October 2017

Number of files on children in Tusla probe rises to 1,200

Gordon Jeyes, chief executive of Tusla. Photo: Tom Burke
Gordon Jeyes, chief executive of Tusla. Photo: Tom Burke
Aideen Sheehan

Aideen Sheehan

The number of unidentified files on children being investigated by child and family agency Tusla has risen to at least 1,200.

That's substantially more than the 700 files initially reported amid fears they may not have been assessed by social services. The files were discovered in the Laois and Offaly region.

Tusla will complete screening of all 1,200 of these files by today, its chief executive Gordon Jeyes told the Dáil Committee on Health and Children yesterday.

The 1,200 files include various pieces of information, and the screening process involves crosschecking them to see if some refer to the same children or if they're all separate cases.

"Screening of the backlog has begun with immediate scrutiny on 29th April of a number of files. Additional experienced staff have been brought to the midlands from other areas and all 1,200 cases will have been screened by 8th of May," he said.

Some 822 unacknowledged Garda referrals were also being investigated to see if there had simply been a failure to acknowledge them or if they had gone unassessed, Mr Jeyes said.

Mr Jeyes said the gardaí had been assisting Tusla staff with reviewing these notifications to ensure that none of them referred to an urgent case requiring the allocation of a social worker.

A team of social workers has been appointed to review the situation and take immediate action where necessary.

The unidentified cases came to light after a newly appointed principal social worker reported concerns about a number of files whose status was unclear and Children's Minister James Reilly has demanded a full report on the matter.

Tusla's director of quality assurance is also scrutinising management and reporting processes at the agency which was set up to oversee child protection.

Irish Independent

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