A total of 166 children are in care without a designated social worker in the TUSLA West Region which includes Co Donegal.
Figures released by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs reveal that a total of 453 children currently in care have yet to be allocated a dedicated social worker.
Deputy Pearse Doherty has described the figures as ‘shocking’ and ‘deeply alarming.’
The data, provided to Deputy Doherty in response to a Dáil Question, shows that of the agency’s four regions.
Reacting to the figures, Deputy Doherty said “Following the recent shocking and high profile revelations involving TUSLA, the Child and Family agency and Garda Whistle blower Sergeant Maurice McCabe, I decided to table a series of Parliamentary Questions specifically relating to the performance of the agency across each of its four regions in the state.
“One of the questions which I put to the Minister for Children Katherine Zappone was with regards to the total number of children in care who have yet to be allocated a dedicated social worker to oversee their case.
“The Minister has now provided me with that data and the figures are shocking and deeply worrying to say the least.”
The TUSLA figures stated that according to their most recent records, as of December last there are 6,258 children in care, 453 of which are still awaiting the allocation of a social worker.
“Of those 453 child cases which do not yet have a social worker appointed, the TUSLA region with the single highest number of children yet to have been allocated a social worker was Area West, where 166 children still do not have a social worker in place.
“This is despite that fact that of the four TUSLA regions, Area West actually has the fewest overall number of children currently in a care placement, while also having the lowest number of children in receipt of social worker supports with 1,297 children out of 1,463 having already been assigned a social worker.
“These figures are indicative of wider failings within the Child and Family Agency, while they also show that the welfare and supports a child receives whilst in care, who in some instances are perhaps some of the most vulnerable in our society, is very much dependent on that child’s postcode – that is simply unforgiveable.”