The introduction of mandatory reporting in cases of suspected child abuse or children at risk is important and welcome, but no provision for extra resources for Tusla has been made by Government.
This is the view of Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs Anne Rabbitte, who is calling on the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Catherine Zappone to explain how she plans to support Tusla once the mandatory reporting legislation is enacted towards the end of this year.
Dep Rabbitte said the introduction of mandatory reporting, part of the Children First legislation, is both important and welcome, but that it will “naturally lead to an increased workload for Tusla”. She pointed to the experience of New South Wales which saw a “600 per cent increase in complaints”, according to the Portumna based TD, after mandatory reporting was introduced there.
“Resources already seem to be stretched within Tusla, and there is no doubt the agency would become even more strained with the addition of this extra work,” she said. She criticised Minister Zappone for committing to commence the legislation by the end of the year, while alleging that she “failed to commit to provide Tusla with any additional resources”.
“The bottom line here is that child protection services must not be compromised, least of all by the Minister’s own actions,” she saud. “Minister Zappone needs to explain how she will ensure that Children First will not impact on existent services.”