A further 250 foster families are needed each year to meet Ireland’s obligations

A further 250 foster families need to be recruited each year to meet Ireland’s commitments, the Tusla chief said.

Bernard Gloster, chief executive of the Children and Families Agency, said the sector has hired “a little more than we’re losing” this year for the first time since 2019, but more needs to be done to meet evolving demands .

“I would say given the unaccompanied children seeking international protection, the standard child protection and care requirements if we are to maintain a very high standard of staying in government care for over 90 per cent of the children who are living with foster families of whom Ireland As a leader, we probably have to recruit about 250 foster families a year,” he said.

It comes as foster parents have expressed frustration at the lack of an increase in foster allowance in the 2023 budget. The allowance, unchanged since 2009, is €325 per week for a child under 12 and €352 for older children. But the government has introduced a one-off double payment, which caregivers say is insufficient.

Mr Gloster said while most carers do not join the sector to make money, the allowance “needs to be addressed” and Tusla, Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman and his department were all “very supportive” of increasing the allowance.

“But I think it’s related to a general improvement in foster care this year… There’s going to be a lot of improvement going on, there’s no doubt about that. We have published and will campaign for a change in the allowance and will continue to campaign for it,” he told RTÉ In this week Program.

“To be fair to foster parents, they themselves would often say that they don’t want this to become a binary, all about money. When the grant originally started, it started as a maintenance allowance to help foster parents care for the children.

“It’s a totally tax-free allowance … It’s also not a means-tested allowance in relation to the Welfare Bill payments that people receive, but there’s no doubt that it hasn’t kept up with the times.”

Meanwhile, on October 7, the new Birth Information and Tracing Law was introduced. The law provides a right of access to birth certificates, birth dates and early life information for people who have been adopted, disembarked, are the subject of illegal birth registration or otherwise have questions about their ancestry.

As of Friday night, nearly 4,000 people had applied for the service, including 2,460 through Tusla, Mr Gloster said.

He described the act as “groundbreaking” but warned that for some people it could be “complex” journeys as some historical records are of “very poor quality”.

https://www.independent.ie/news/an-additional-250-foster-families-needed-annual-to-meet-irelands-commitments-42070593.html A further 250 foster families are needed each year to meet Ireland’s obligations

Fry Electronics Team

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