Privatisation of placements for children taken into state care by Tusla grew by 11% in 2022

According to Tusla’s Monthly service performance and activity report  December 2022 there was 5,759 children in state care at the end of the year which is down from 5,863 in December 2021, a reduction of 104.

The highest rate of children taken into state care is in Tusla’s Dublin North City service area. A child living here is three times more likely to be taken into state care than if they live in Dublin North and four times more likely than if they live in the Dublin South East/Wicklow service area.

The highest number of children in care was reported by Cork (706) followed by Midwest (531) and Dublin North City (464).

The highest rate of children in care per 1,000 children was reported by Dublin North City (10.3/1,000) followed by Waterford/Wexford (5.9/1,000), Midwest (5.5/1,000) and Dublin South Central (5.4/1,000).

The lowest rate was reported by  Dublin South East/Wicklow (2.4/1,000) followed by Dublin North (3.7/1,000) and Dublin South West/Kildare/West Wicklow (3.8/1,000).

Seven areas reported a percentage equal to or higher than the national average of 4.7/1,000 children.

Private Providers

15% of children (874) in care at the end of December 2022 were in placements with private providers, eight more than November 2022 (866).

There was a significant 11% increase in the number of children going into private residential care compared to December 2021 when there was 785 in private placements.

29% (251) of children in placements with private providers in December 2022 were in residential care.  At present, HIQA inspects Tusla centres, but not private centres, which instead are inspected by Tusla. There’s a conflict of interest here for Tusla who have a dual role of Paymaster and Inspector.

Allocated Social Worker

85% (4,916) of children in care at the end of December 2022 had an allocated social worker; down one percentage point from the previous month.

The highest number of children without an allocated social worker was reported reported by Carlow/Kilkenny/South Tipperary (172) followed by Waterford/Wexford (143), Dublin South West/Kildare/West Wicklow (127), Dublin South Central (77) and Midlands (56). These five areas account for 68% (575) of all cases awaiting allocation.

97% (5,571) of children in care at the end of December 2022 had a care plan, no change from November 2022.

Care Plan

There is a statutory requirement under Child Care Act 1991 that Tusla gives a child in care an opportunity to have their voice heard in the drawing up of their care plan.

A total of 188 (3%) of children were awaiting a care plan in December 2022.

The highest numbers awaiting a care plan was reported by Louth/Meath (32), Dublin North City (24), Dublin South West/Kildare/West Wicklow (22) and Dublin North City (18).