DELAYS in fully vetting relatives who foster children at short notice have been criticised.
New figures show there were more than 6,465 children in the care of the HSE in September 2013, with the majority placed in foster care. Nearly 30pc – 1,888 – were placed with relative foster carers.
Children are often placed at short notice with relatives who have received an initial vetting, pending a full assessment and approval by a care committee.
The figures show that by the end of September last year, there were 487 relative foster carers awaiting approval by the foster care panel.
The children had been placed with them for longer than 12 weeks in 401 (82pc) of these cases where approval was awaited.
Labour TD Tommy Broughan has criticised the high number of placements of children with relative foster carers without the prior approval of a foster care committee.
He said: "It is particularly concerning that over 80pc of placements where approval of the foster care committee had not been granted involved children placed with relative foster carers for longer than 12 weeks."
He described the figures supplied to him by the Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald as "unacceptable".
Minister Fitzgerald said in response to a parliamentary question that: "The nature of relative foster care is that often children are placed at short notice with relative carers who have received initial vetting pending a full assessment."