More than 900 vacancies in child and family agency highlighted

During 2016 and 2017 the number of staff leaving social care work outnumbered those starting

Due to short staffing Tusla has been spending more than €2.5 million on average monthly on agency staff. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Due to short staffing Tusla has been spending more than €2.5 million on average monthly on agency staff. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

 

There are more than 900 vacant posts in the child and family agency Tusla, new figures reveal.

There are 938 vacancies in total, with the bulk of them in social work (377), administration (257) and in social care jobs (211 ).

Other vacancies included in the areas of family support (31), psychologists and counsellors (12) and management roles (26).

The figures were released in reply to a parliamentary question from Independent TD Tommy Broughan.

During 2016 and 2017 the number of staff leaving social care work, including those retiring, has outnumbered the number starting, Mr Broughan said.

“It is some of the most vulnerable in our society who are dependent on support from Tusla and the staff. I would urge the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone, and the incoming chief executive, once appointed, to prioritise creating a well-paid and positive work environment to ensure maximum work satisfaction and staff retention,” he said.

He said current staff are overstretched and under-resourced when there are continuing demands on its services and a large number of vacancies.

In addition he said Tusla, due to short staffing, has been spending more than €2.5 million on average monthly on agency staff.

Tusla told him, he said, that at the end of July 60 staff started working at the agency and just 36 left “so hopefully we are beginning to see a reverse in this trend. The reply goes on to state that a retention study was carried out during 2017 and that a Retention Steering Group was established”.