Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs and European Parliament candidate for Midlands-North-West Anne Rabbitte TD has said the government must expedite efforts to hire social care workers as new figures show over six thousand child protection cases awaiting social workers to be assigned.

Figures released to Fianna Fáil show 6, 432 child protection cases are awaiting a social worker. Of these 6, 432, there are 1, 003 classed as high priority.

Deputy Rabbitte commented, “It is alarming to read that there are well over six thousand children in the State awaiting a social worker for child protection cases. I understand Tusla will assign an on-duty social work team member until an appointed social worker is in place.

“We must have greater consistency for the children in these dreadful situations, through no fault of their own. Over one year ago I raised this with the Minister and flagged the problems Tusla are having however it appears little has changed.

“I pressed the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs to outline her Departments attempts to bring in new social workers. It is very disappointing that a ‘High Level Social Work Education Stakeholders Group’ met to work on this process for the first time on January 16th and by the end of March little has been done to change the situation.

“We can debate this in the Dáil repeatedly however every day in homes and centres across the country there are children awaiting a dedicated social worker to help them through what is the most difficult time in their lives. They need action now,” concluded Deputy Rabbitte.