Truancy cases awaiting referral

File photo

The number of school absenteeism cases awaiting allocation to an educational welfare officer rose 52% in the year to last December.

Figures contained in Tusla’s 2019 Business Plan show an overall increase in the number of referrals screened last year by the Educational Welfare Services within the child and family agency.

In total, some 6,653 referrals were screened in 2018, up 13% on the figure for 2017 while, by the end of last year, there were 3,084 cases open to the service.

“Some 1,519 referrals were awaiting allocation to an educational welfare officer,” it said.

Cases awaiting allocation are up 52% [521] on December 2017, but down 26% [527] on the high of 2,046 reported in June 2018.

A total of 704 school attendance notices — the first step in legal proceedings — were issued under Section 25 of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 in 2018, 50 fewer than 2017, while 169 summonses were issued, 18 more than 2017. The school attendance notices in 2018 were issued in respect of 477 individual children, and summonses issued in respect of 122 individual children.

The report also shows that Tusla’s service for separated children seeking asylum received 129 referrals last year, 46 fewer than in 2017. At the end of November 2018, there were 68 children in care under the social work team for separated children seeking asylum — 12 fewer than the start of the year.

With much focus on difficulties in the recruitment of social workers, the report states that one aim is “liaison with third-level institutions regarding bursaries and engagement on increasing the supply of social work and social care graduates”.

In terms of managing workload, measures include “enhancement of operational guidance for the management of serious concerns and allegations underway. In tackling social work attrition rates, one response is a “review of exit interview data to identify areas for improvement for social work retention” and development of a retention strategy.

As for the possibility of “adverse media attention”, measures include “the building-in of consideration for potential reputational damage into major strategic and business planning decisions” and strengthening of the corporate culture.

More on this topic

Tusla provides additional funding for counselling services in Drogheda

Tusla reveals efforts to stay on budget

Over 1,100 injuries and accidents to kids in care

Work to be done to help disabled children

More in this Section

Drug services in Cork notice increase in 'dangerous injecting practices'

Council gives go-ahead to $4bn Intel plant; Council to get €9.7m if project proceeds

Woman said she acted in self-defence when boyfriend died of stab wound, murder trial hears

'You have to be emotionally regulated' - How beekeeping is helping teach mindfulness to vulnerable teens


Lifestyle

Irish Examiner Sustainability Month special: Are retailers meeting customer expectations for sustainable products?

Making the most of Irish strawberries - Michelle Darmody shares her recipes

Making Cents: Help protect the planet and occupy the kids

Good Omens and great expectations

More From The Irish Examiner