Gardaí referred 81 children to Tusla's Family Support Services in six month period

Gardaí referred 81 children to Tusla's Family Support Services in six month period

Gardaí referred 81 children to Tusla's Family Support Services in the space of six months.

A children's charity says kids are often referred because of abuse or neglect.

According to Tusla's figures, more than 18,100 children were referred to its Family Support Services in the first six months of last year.

The referrals come from a variety of sources, such as GPs, the HSE and schools.

In 81 cases, they came from the gardaí, including 22 in Cavan-Monaghan and 21 in Cork.

Suzanne Connolly, the chief executive of Barnardos, says there are many reasons why children may be referred to the service.

"Children are referred [to support services] from a variety of professionals," said Ms Connolly

"And that's because those professionals have come across children who they think are in need of support.

"They may be also quite worried about the children, they maybe think that the children are being neglected or even potentially abused in the family home."

"And they want Tusla to either provide family support if that's appropriate or if necessary allocate a social worker because of child protection concerns."

Tusla says nearly 17,900 children received a family support service between January and June of last year.

The agency says it has 114 Child and Family Support Networks across the country - a 30% increase on two years ago.

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