The child and family agency Tusla has responded to a critical watchdog report about child protection services in north Dublin, announcing that it is recruiting more social workers to deal with waiting lists for its services.
The agency last night outlined a range of measures it has implemented since the report by the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) in February.
Hiqa found delays in notifying gardai about suspected cases of physical abuse and also reported that the impact of long-term harm and neglect on children's wellbeing was not fully considered by staff.
Some families were being referred back to the service again but there was no accurate data to signal patterns of recurring welfare issues.
The service also suffered from under-staffing and the allocation of complex cases to inexperienced social workers.
Last night Tusla outlined the measures it has taken in response to the Hiqa findings including:
lSix additional social workers will be recruited, which will "significantly impact on current waiting lists".
lThe completion of a waiting list audit and prioritisation of cases based on level of need.
lA review of family support plans is underway to address issues such as information deficits and adherence to review time-frames.
Tusla's area manager in north Dublin Lorna Kavanagh defended the agency's record.
"The report noted that members of An Garda Siochana outlined that there had been some issues regarding notifications of alleged physical abuse being received after considerable delay which impeded the Garda investigation.
"However, the report also stated that through liaison meetings between the gardai and management in the Child and Family Agency, this had been addressed at the time of inspection," she said.
Ms Kavanagh said that the report recognised that children at greatest risk were prioritised.