CHILD Protection Services in the Cork area will see a boost before the end of the year as 54 new posts have been prioritised for the area. The HSE south have recruited 45 additional social care workers who have already commenced employment and the remaining ten posts are scheduled to be filled by the end of the year.
The news comes in the wake of the latest HIQA report highlighting serious flaws in foster care services in the city and county. Fine Gael’s Deputy Deirdre Clune received the news from Minister for Children, Barry Andrews after she raised the matter in the Dáil last week. In welcoming the news, Deputy Clune has called for an immediate deadline for implementing the recommendations of the report and the filling of the remaining posts.
“I welcome this news about the new staff however I emphasis that it seems to be children, continuously, who are the victims in these service deficiencies. I am calling for an immediate timeline on fulfilling all of the recommendations made in the report and asking the Minister to ensure the remaining posts are filled immediately.”
In her address, Deputy Clune questioned if the staffing embargo has played a role in the lack of service provision, however Deputy Andrews explained that: “social workers are exempt from it but in addition HSE south will receive pro rata its relevant number of staff.”
Deputy Clune continued: “It is also imperative that the issue of non-assessment of carers is also addressed immediately. This is an unacceptable situation. The report explained that although there were 452 carers approved as carers, of these 48 had not been assessed by a link.
“In recent years the country has been rocked by revelations about the State’s historic failure to protect vulnerable children. I had hoped these scandals would have guaranteed that State institutions such as the HSE would be more conscience of its duty towards vulnerable children under its protection but that would not seem to be the case given this HIQA report.”