Tusla, the child and family agency, is reporting a drop in the number of referrals it is receiving and is urging people who may have a concern about the wellbeing or safety of a child during this time to contact the local duty social work office where the child lives.
Tusla is considered a critical service provider of essential frontline services for children and families and it says it is focused on ensuring that essential services for children and families are maintained during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
It says its main areas of focus at this time are child protection and children in care, emergency out of hours’ services, and domestic, sexual and gender-based violence services.
However, Bernard Gloster, Chief Executive of the organisation said there were indications that the number of referrals to child protection and welfare services is lower than usual at this time.
He said he wanted to reassure the public that all referrals or concerns about children are being screened and assessed in line with normal practice and that where a child is at immediate risk, they receive an immediate protective response.
“As many services and industries are not operating normally, for example the closure of schools who account for about a quarter of referrals it is expected that referral numbers will be lower. However, Tusla’s child protection and welfare teams are here, and are working to keep children as safe as possible in every community around the country,” he stressed.
“I’d ask anyone with a concern about the wellbeing or safety of a child during this time to contact the local duty social work office where the child lives. Details are available on the Tusla website at www.tusla.ie or contact us via the Tusla online portal at portal.tusla.ie”
According to Tusla, there are currently 5,971 children in care and it says its staff around the country are working tirelessly to ensure the continuity of supports and services, while also balancing the needs and best interests of the child with public health advice to keep children, families and frontline staff as safe as possible during the pandemic.