TUSLA Are Abandoning Foster Children To Homelessness

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has joined with The Irish Network of Foster Carers (INFC) to express his concern around the decision by the Child and Family Agency TUSLA to proceed with a new child after care policy which will, according to INFC, increase the displacement of vulnerable young adults into homeless services.  Deputy McGrath was speaking after the INFC warned him that North Tipperary alone is currently experiencing child care team understaffing levels of up to 66%:

“The situation as outlined by the INFC is horrifying.  

This new policy will mean that If a child has the ability to continue on to third level education or continue in training, then the child will be entitled to an aftercare allowance up until the age of 23 years old and remain in their foster placement and enjoy the security and support that provides.

However, if the child is unable or unwilling to continue in education, then they will be directed towards social welfare and local Authority housing on their 18 birthday.

What is disturbing about this policy is the failure to recognise that many of these children and young adults simply cannot progress to third level because of severe educational or learning difficulties.

So it is not a matter of choice for them.

In effect this means that the more well you are, the greater support you will receive; while the more vulnerable you are the less support you will receive.

TUSLA tried to implement this aftercare policy last September and postponed it because the supports and infrastructure mention in it were not in place.

Nothing has changed in twelve months.

Indeed the INFC tell me that the infrastructure is still not in place and if anything the situation has gotten worse.

According to TUSLA’s own figures, 33% of children who leave care are homeless within 6 months. This rises to 61% after two years.

How then can TUSLA introduce this policy in the face of an unprecedented social housing crisis and a homeless problem that is already stretched beyond capacity.

Minister James Reilly needs to immediately call on TUSLA to abandon this ridiculous and cruel two-tier policy” concluded Deputy McGrath.


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