Tusla chief says the agency has nothing to hide

Tusla chief says the agency has nothing to hide
Fred McBride, Chief Executive of Tusla

The head of Tusla admits that investigations into the agency are a distraction but says it has nothing to hide.

Tusla has been at the centre of a number of controversies and has warned that failure to recruit and retain staff remains a problem.

The Child and Family agency receives one referral every 11 minutes - with over 53,000 last year alone.

While around 5,000 of these remain unallocated - Tusla says the number of children in state care has stabilised.

Chief Executive Fred McBride says 2017 was the most challenging year for the agency, mainly because of the unprecedented level of external scrutiny.

"There is a danger that it kind of rocked our confidence a bit in what we're doing but as I go around the country talking to people, people are absolutely determined to stay on track with our reform programme," said Mr McBride.

"And that's what I see - I see enthusiasm, I see commitment. But yes, it does have an impact, clearly."

The agency has been involved in a number of high profile controversies including the Maurice McCabe whistleblower scandal.

Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone believes there could be more to come: "They have had bad days and I acknowledge that. I am sure that there will be other bad days because of the nature of the work that they do."

Tusla has launched a new three year plan that it says will provide children and families with the right service at the right time for the right reason.

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