Tusla sees child welfare and protection referrals rise to highest level in a year

Tusla sees child welfare and protection referrals rise to highest level in a year

Kerry and then Cork had the highest number of high-priority cases awaiting allocation. File photo

The number of referrals received by Tusla last November was the highest monthly total in a year.

The most recent monthly report by Tusla shows a huge 48% monthly increase in the number of cases waiting to be dealt with by Tusla's Education Welfare Service.

The Tusla report said there were 6,369 child welfare and protection referrals in November, 14% more than October and 17% more than November 2019, making it the highest number for all months since November 2019.

The report said 14 of the 17 Tusla areas reported an increase from October 2020.

There were 4,053 cases awaiting allocation at the end of November, a similar number to that in October, including 362 cases categorised as high priority. Kerry and then Cork had the highest number of high-priority cases awaiting allocation.

The number of referrals made to Tusla involving retrospective cases of abuse to the end of last November, at 2,647, was lower than the number made in the first 11 months of 2019. The number of those cases still awaiting allocation has been steadily rising since last August, but were still at a lower level than much of the first half of 2020.

There were also 1,599 mandated reports of abuse received in November, with 38% coming from gardaí and 15% from social workers, while 15% of such reports came from teachers.

The figures also show 61 mandated reports, outlining fears or concerns of possible abuse, were made in November by domestic violence shelter managers, with 392 such reports coming from those sources in the first 11 months of last year.

When it came to school absenteeism, according to the report, there were 1,436 referrals on a waiting list for educational welfare services at the end of last November, 467 (48%) more than in October 2020 (969). "Month-on-month increase in referrals from September 2020 with a sharp increase in November 2020, up 710 from October 2020 (327) to 1,037," it said.

There were also 1,275 children awaiting assessment for registration for homeschooling and alternative education at the end of November, reflecting the surge of applications from parents and guardians last summer.

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