Coonan says new family agency will protect vulnerable children

Fine Gael TD Noel Coonan

Fine Gael TD Noel Coonan

Tipperary Fine Gael TD Noel Coonan has said the new Child & Family Agency officially launched last week will provide better protection and intervention for vulnerable children in County Tipperary.

Deputy Coonan believes the agency is a very important milestone and one of the largest reforms ever undertaken by this Government.

“My colleague Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald and An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD launched the Agency on Thursday. The Agency will address decades of fragmentation where different agencies did not work together and as a result children suffered.

“The Agency brings together existing child protection services, family support services and educational welfare services; which were currently spread between the HSE and other bodies.

“For the first time we will have child and family social workers, family support workers and education welfare officers working together on the same team to ensure interventions are more coordinated and consistent for the safety of our children,” explained Deputy Coonan.

“Since 1980 there have been 29 major enquiries in Ireland into child protection failings. The 2011 Independent Child Deaths report highlighted major failings during the period of the ‘Celtic Tiger’, when many vulnerable young people suffered. A key finding of that report was that too many different agencies and professionals were involved with families-in-crisis and young people-at risk, but they were not working together in an effective or efficient manner.

“The establishment of the new Child & Family Agency is designed to remedy that legacy by bringing together existing child protection, family support and education welfare services all under the one roof, working better together.

“I want to commend Minister Fitzgerald for prioritising this very important issue and securing an additional €6.7 million in budget 2014 to recruit more staff as part of the ongoing reform and development of child protection services,” continued Deputy Coonan.


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