The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone T.D. has today welcomed the publication of the final progress report by the Expert Assurance Group (EAG) on steps taken by Tusla to implement actions following on from HIQA’s Statutory Investigation.
The Minister said: “I welcome the EAG’s final report, which outlines the progress that has been made by Tusla across a range of reforms in response to HIQA’s findings and four key recommendations. There is clear evidence of positive momentum.”
In its statutory investigation, HIQA identified three areas for urgent attention by Tusla: screening and preliminary enquiry; safety planning; and the management of retrospective allegations. The EAG noted considerable progress in respect of screening and preliminary enquiries, and in safety planning. Four regional retrospective teams have been established to manage retrospective cases of alleged abuse. A new operational policy, National Child Abuse Substantiation Procedures (CASP), has been finalised and training for its implementation is underway.
The actions on Tusla’s workforce strategy and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) social work educational pathways are in place and the EAG report urged ongoing prioritisation of these issues. An international review of best practice in the regulation of children’s services have been satisfactorily completed by the DCYA.
The EAG also recommended that a governance arrangement is put in place by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs on the key areas that Tusla will continue to embed over the next 12 months.
Minister Zappone also noted: “I am satisfied that the report demonstrates sufficient evidence of progress and that the planned outcomes are on track to being realised. I wish to thank the Chair and the members of the Expert Assurance Group for the huge commitment and dedication that they have given this really important process.”