As a critical service provider of essential frontline services for children and families, Tusla is focused on ensuring that essential services for children and families are maintained, a statement has said.
The three main areas of focus during COVID-19 are: child protection and children in care, emergency out of hours’ services, and domestic, sexual and gender-based violence services.
Speaking about the approach of the agency Bernard Gloster, Chief Executive, Tusla said: “I would like to reassure the public that all referrals or concerns about children are being screened and assessed in line with normal practice and that where a child is at immediate risk, they receive an immediate protective response.
"We are seeing indications that the number of referrals to child protection and welfare services are lower than usual at this time. As many services and industries are not operating normally, for example the closure of schools who account for about a quarter of referrals it is expected that referral numbers will be lower. However, Tusla’s child protection and welfare teams are here, and are working to keep children as safe as possible in every community around the country.
"I’d ask anyone with a concern about the wellbeing or safety of a child during this time to contact the local duty social work office where the child lives. Details are available on the Tusla website at www.tusla.ie or contact us via the Tusla online portal at portal.tusla.ie”
Tusla’s Crisis Management Team is working daily with the Senior Leadership Team to ensure that public health advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) is implemented and detailed guidance and support is provided to staff during this time to ultimately keep children, families and our staff as safe as possible during COVID-19.
"There are currently 5,971 children in care and staff around the country are working tirelessly to ensure the continuity of supports and services, while also balancing the needs and best interests of the child with public health advice to keep children, families and frontline staff as safe as possible during the pandemic," a statement read.