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Written Answers - Social Work Staff

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 765 No. 3

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 138.  Deputy Seán Crowe Information on Sean Crowe Zoom on Sean Crowe  asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald  her plans to adequately resource social workers and ensure that they have manageable case loads in the context of forthcoming changes to the child protection regime. [23977/12]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The Government has made additional budgeting provision of €19m for child welfare and protection services compared to the funding made available last year. This compares to a reduction of €14m which was made in the HSE’s 2011 National Service Plan which was approved in December 2010. The additional funding made available for 2012 provides further impetus to the comprehensive reform of service delivery which is underway and which is aimed at generating the best possible outcomes for vulnerable children and families.

My Department will continue to work closely with the HSE throughout the year to ensure that the priorities set out in the HSE National Service Plan are implemented where they relate to children and family services. We have set an ambitious programme of work, one which is designed to significantly strengthen the policy, legislative and practice framework. Our shared goal is the delivery of appropriate, effective and consistent services, notwithstanding the very challenging and demanding circumstances in which these services are delivered.

As regards caseloads, the HSE through a document titled “The Induction of Social Workers: A Policy and Guidelines for Children and Families Social Services” provided guidance on the management of caseloads by recommending limited caseloads, supervision and support for the newly qualified social worker. The induction policy was signed off for implementation in December 2010 and is due to be reviewed and evaluated before the middle of 2012.

As part of the ongoing reform process, a methodology for workload management for all social work staff is also being developed.


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