General News / March 26, 2024

Children in Care Are Being Failed in Ireland

Image Credit: An Cailín Ciúin
General News / March 26, 2024

Children in Care Are Being Failed in Ireland

Words: Dray Morgan

The Irish child and family agency in charge of child protection and welfare in the country, also known as Tusla, has been underfunded and overlooked for so long that children’s safety is now being compromised due to the lack of resources in the government body.

In December last year, Noteworthy found that dozens of migrant minors, who have been processed in Ireland since 2017, have since vanished from state care. Of the 62 children missing, 44 of these children’s cases are no longer being pursued due to their age now being over 18. 

In response to the statistics, Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman said “There is a clear programme in place where a child in care is missing. It involves Tusla, An Garda Síochána and an investigation.”

The Liberties Rule of Law Report, an NGO report on the EU which looks into the most striking developments concerning justice and corruption, has found “widespread human rights violations” relating to lack of preventative measures against human trafficking and child safety in Ireland.

Ireland’s lack of infrastructure to accommodate asylum seekers has only exacerbated the already under pressure organisation. Ireland has been identified by The Liberties as one of four EU countries who have failed to uphold the rights of migrant children.

However, it is not only asylum seekers who are being neglected by TUSLA. Internal records have noted that children in emergency accommodation have had to live with bed bugs, contracted scabies and had to commute hours to and from their schools. Furthermore, unsupervised overcrowding of various aged children in bedrooms, have raised concerns about the possibility of abuse.

Source: Tusla Annual Review 2022

In January of this year, Tusla announced they were freezing recruitment, despite the fact that not all children in care had a dedicated social worker, a significant breach of legal requirements. The 2023 budget also noted that Tusla was currently running on a €60 million deficit.

Over the past decade, child welfare referrals have doubled and separated children requiring international protection has increased by 500%. TUSLA CEO, Kate Duggan, told the Oireachtais the organisation’s attempts at adapting and expanding, a lack of funding and government cooperation is at the heart of the issue.

Duggan finished her addressal to the Irish government “Tusla cannot solve all these challenges alone, and significant interagency and Governmental cooperation is required to ensure that we are meeting the needs of children and young people.”

Elsewhere on District: 1 in 5 Children in Northern Ireland are living in Poverty