Way social workers trained needs to change, says Pat Rabbitte

The chairman of Tusla is calling for a change in the way social workers are trained in Ireland.

Former Labour leader Pat Rabbitte says the volume of social workers graduating from traditional universities is not sufficient to meet demand and there is a need “to go outside traditional universities.”

He told RTE’s Today with Sean O’Rourke show that courses in social work should be considered at the institutes of technology around the country, he also called for the establishment of conversion courses.

If Ireland were to have the same ratio of social workers as exists in the UK then it would be necessary to recruit 1,500 extra social workers, he said.

At present just over 200 social workers are graduating from traditional universities every year, he explained while last year 158 social workers were lost through retirement or leaving the sector.

There is an acute shortage of social workers. It is a big problem for us. At any time there are 92 people on maternity leave.

Mr Rabbitte added that Tusla has 4,000 employees and had dealt with 57,000 referrals last year. “It is a big organisation and the need is big.”

The former Minister for Children said he views his new role as worthwhile and a great challenge. He had thought “long and hard” before accepting the position. “It is a fascinating area and a worthwhile endeavor.”

More on this topic

Gardaí: Tusla can take five months to contact parties

Tusla to respond to figures showing number of retrospective abuse cases awaiting allocation

Brother of Tusla legal affairs boss one of the top 10 earners in barristers’ fees at the agency

Tusla responds to investigation into rape of three children in state care

More in this Section

Two Irish people scoop €500k in EuroMillions Plus

Man arrested following discovery of woman's body in Westport

'I got a second chance at life': Breast cancer survivor who left school at 17 graduates from Trinity

Gardaí appeal for witnesses of alleged racial abuse on train


The Currabinny cooks celebrate the courgette

Cork city in the rare oul’ times

What next for Madonna?

Lindsay Woods: 'My forgetfulness results in a new version of the Walk of Shame'

More From The Irish Examiner