Tusla accused of forcing young people into ‘risky’ situations

Tusla accused of forcing young people into ‘risky’ situations

Young people leaving State care continue to receive inadequate support, with those leaving residential care put in “particularly risky” situations including homelessness, according to Sr Stan.

Speaking on behalf of Focus Ireland, she said Tusla’s aftercare social workers face huge caseloads which lead to children being assigned a caseworker but not receiving support.

“Some, particularly those in residential care, have not been prepared adequately, there are waiting lists for aftercare workers so even though they are reported as being ‘assigned’ too many don’t have the support of an aftercare worker,” said Sr Stan.

She added that in England and Australia the requirement to leave care at 18 is now “being accepted as unreasonable”.


A Tusla spokesperson said that as of October 2018 they employ 79 aftercare workers and 10 aftercare managers.

With just under 2,000 young adults aged 18-22 receiving an aftercare service, according to their 2018 Q3 performance report, on average aftercare workers take on 25 cases.

Focus Ireland have revealed to The Irish Catholic that during 2017 they supported 1,650 young people aged 18-25. There was an increase of about 10% in the first 10 months of this year, to 1,829.

Sr Stan said that “unfortunately and shockingly” the data collected regarding what happens to young people when they leave care is “in our experience, unreliable”.

Merchants Quay Ireland have found that a third of young people receiving support from their dedicated Young Person Support Worker (YPSW), Antoinette Peel, come from State care.

“The young people we see are so vulnerable. They arrive at MQI straight out of care or having had family relationships break down and find themselves at risk of falling into addiction and long-term homelessness,” Ms Peel said.


The Minister for Children, Katherine Zappone, has failed to meet representative bodies for children in care such as the Irish Aftercare Network, who have sent her a detailed submission, and Epic.

Some of the submissions highlight issues including the lack of social workers, high caseloads, assessment and preparation not being carried out prior to children leaving care, few Aftercare Residential places available and a lack of services for young people with mental health issues.

A spokeswoman for Tusla said that aftercare services build on the work already undertaken by foster carers, residential workers and social workers in preparing young people for adulthood.

She said supports in development include drop-in support services, a website, practical living supports, and accommodation.

“Whilst accommodation is not within Tusla’s remit, we do advocate strongly for young people in this regard and work alongside local authorities and housing bodies as part of the CAS system,” she added.