Bill Tormey wants 24/7 provision of social workers for emergencies

Published: Wednesday, 25th March, 2009 12:00pm
Child Benefit should be withdrawn from rich, Murray insists
by Tom Carron

Cllr. Gerry Murray has suggested that child benefit should be withdrawn from families earning in excess of €100,000 and given to other families on low income. He made the call at Monday”s meeting of the Regional Health Forum.
He said that this was necessary in order to stabilise the home life of children in poorer households but this redistribution of child benefit should only be done on the understanding that the additional money would be put to proper use, he said.

The Cavan representative was speaking on a debate on childcare services at the meeting. Members expressed substantial unease that there was no around the clock service for children in Ireland in 2009.
Dr. Bill Tormey was clearly unhappy with the pace of progress being made with regard to the provision of a 24/7 Social Work service in particular.
Tadgh O”Brien, assistant national director PCCC, informed the meeting that negotiations were in progress with the union involved with regard to the matter. When he remarked that there was a cost issue involved, forum member, Ann Carter, responded that there should be no cost placed on children”s lives.
Mr. O”Brien added that there were staffing issues involved in getting staff to work out of hours and talks were ongoing.
Dr. Tormey said he was shocked by the level of complacency on the issue and he proposed that there should be a report before the next meeting on the outcome of the talks concerned.
At the forum meeting Ms Liz Oakes, childcare specialist, made a presentation to the meeting on the Children and Family Services. She said that a national task force had been established to look at the quality of childcare services and to recommend the improvement of outcomes.
She revealed that in Cavan/Monaghan there were 31,289 children/young people between the ages of 0 and 17. This was 26% of the population of the two counties; the same as Louth and one per cent less than Meath.
As of December, 2008, there were 153 children in care from Cavan/Monaghan. This included two children in residential care, 131 in foster care, 19 in foster care with relatives and one child in other care arrangements.
Ms. Oakes said that the focus was very much on family support and to maintain children at home with their parents. Children were only taken into care as a last resort and in such cases it was much better that they would be placed in a family setting, she said.