Independent TD for Donegal Thomas Pringle has asked the Taoiseach to meet with the Irish Foster Care Association as they seek the first increase in the foster care allowance since 2009.
Deputy Pringle said the increase was a ‘miniscule ask’ in the context of what foster parents save the state in comparison to residential care costs which are 20 times higher.
Addressing the Taoiseach in the Dáil yesterday, Deputy Pringle said: “I arranged for the Irish Foster Care Association to meet with TDs from Donegal the week before the budget to allow them to explain in detail the reasoning and need for the funding ask in their pre-budget submission, and to get a better idea of the service foster parents give to the state.
“I’m very sure those that attended would concur that the challenges were laid out in very stark terms by board members Raymond Nolan, Dr Helen Gogarty and CEO, Catherine Bond.
“Primarily, they asked for an increase in the Foster Care Allowance for the first time since 2009.
The deputy said: “But to understand it fully, you need to hear it first-hand. We are all very good in here at saying we understand issues when we have only cursory knowledge. But sit with these people for half an hour and I promise you will gain a true perspective.
“They would like to meet with you Taoiseach as well. Will you give a commitment to meet with representatives of the Irish Foster Care Association before the passage of the Finance Bill?” Deputy Pringle asked.
The deputy raised the issue during questions on policy or legislation. In response, the Taoiseach said, “First of all, I want to acknowledge that there are issues here that need to be addressed.”
The Taoiseach said, “Both the minister and Tusla want to respond to this in a positive and meaningful way,” and said the minister will work with Tusla “to do everything possible to make some support available on this”.
The Taoiseach said he has also discussed the matter with the minister for public expenditure. “I think we do need to do something here,” he said. The Taoiseach also suggested that maybe the minister could meet initially with the association.