The number of children in homeless accommodation being referred to Tusla is continuing to rise, with latest figures showing mandated reports peaking over two months last summer.
Since Tusla began keeping records of reports made to it by the managers of homeless accommodation at the start of last year, 230 mandated reports have been received by the Child and Family Agency.
However, latest figures show 97 of those reports were made between January and July this year, peaking at 22 last June and with another 21 reports made in July last.
Of the overall total of mandated reports received by Tusla, 75 related to emotional abuse, 67 were in connection with alleged neglect, 46 related to concerns over physical abuse and 22 related to alleged sexual abuse of children.
Last June, 18 reports of emotional abuse were received by Tusla regarding children in homeless accommodation - only the second time any month had seen figures edge into double figures, the only previous occasion being last December when 10 reports linked to alleged emotional abuse were received.
The homelessness crisis shows little sign of abating, with the most recent monthly figures showing 3,873 children living in homeless accommodation around the country in September, as well as 6,524 adults, more than half of whom were in private emergency accommodation such as hotels.
The figures also showed 1,756 families were homeless in September. Organisations including Barnardos and the Children’s Rights Alliance have claimed children living in temporary accommodation will suffer a long-term impact on their childhood and future development.
The Irish Association of Social Workers has also expressed concern at the situation.
Just last week a new report which has received cross-party support in the Dáil recommended laws should be introduced to put a time limit on how long children can stay in emergency accommodation.
The Family and Child Homelessness report also argued that homeless residents should not have to leave their accommodation during the day.
Responding to the figures, Focus Ireland director of Advocacy, Mike Allen, said: “It is well established that a response to homelessness which relies on placing large numbers of homeless families together in emergency accommodation increases levels of stress and child protection risks.
“Focus Ireland is concerned about the welfare of children in such homeless accommodation and the absence of Children First training in many local authorities and private facilities.
"Ensuring that all council and service staff have Children First training and providing a Child Support Worker to every child who needs one – as recently recommended by the Ombudsman for Children and two Oireachtas committees – are essential steps that should be taken urgently.”