A plan to convert the majority of agency staff to temporary Tusla contracts should help to stabilise the child and family agency’s workforce, according to its new chief executive officer.
Bernard Gloster was speaking as he appeared before the Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs for the first time since he took up his role in September.
Tusla currently relies on almost 680 agency staff to fill a number of gaps in staff around the country, Mr Gloster told deputies. “They are predominantly front-line staff,” he said.
With Tusla on track to spend €32m on agency staff this year, plans to offer the majority a contract of employment should help to decrease this by €4m, he added.
“Which at least, while temporary, would better position them better for future permanent employment, reduce our costs and increase our stability of the workforce,” he said.
The grades covered will include frontline social work, social care, family support and admin support, according to Kim Hayes, interim director of human resources at Tusla.
It won’t affect any permanent appointments from Tusla panels, she added.
Meanwhile, there are 41 childcare providers nationwide that currently have a high-risk rating, the committee also heard.
Parents are still being "kept in the dark" as providers won't go out of their way to tell them if enforcement action is being taken, according to Fianna Fáil TD Ann Rabbitte.
Parents are advised if a child protection issues arises, the organisation confirmed. Tusla is also looking at redefining the categorisation it uses, arguing 'high risk' doesn't necessarily represent the risk to children.