Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs Anne Rabbitte TD has said the reporting system being used in social worker offices is antiquated and not fit for purpose. Deputy Rabbitte says the current system is potentially resulting in very serious information being missed in child protection and welfare cases.

Deputy Rabbitte said, “Currently there is no integration of the IT referral systems across Tusla social service regions. As a result of this vital pieces of information that may be detailed regarding a prior case in the files of one social worker office are not accessible in another office.

“It’s remarkable that there is no integrated computer system in place to facilitate the sharing of information on child protection and welfare cases between Tusla areas. Records should be available on a centralised referral system to assist social workers and ensure the best standard of care is achieved for children.

“Currently a person reported for child protection concerns in one region, such as Mayo, can move to another region, such as Dublin North, without social workers in the second location having access to information on the original report. This is truly frightening. It is astonishing that we are still relying on such antiquated systems to manage the reporting of child protection and welfare cases.

“Remarkably, through investigations I have made, this is not primarily a matter of funding. Tusla has underspent on its capital budget for new IT systems by €16.5m, or 59%, over the last three years. Serious questions need to be answered by Tusla management regarding why this is the case,” concluded Deputy Rabbitte.