Home > New Oversight Group to evaluate out-of-hours social work pilot projects.

[Department of Children and Youth Affairs] New Oversight Group to evaluate out-of-hours social work pilot projects. (14 Nov 2011)

Press release:
Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Frances Fitzgerald TD has received preliminary reports on two pilot projects for out-of-hours social work which are underway in Donegal and Cork.

A new National Oversight Group has been established by the HSE to evaluate both pilot projects and to make recommendations to the Minister on an appropriate model for the nationwide roll-out of an out-of-hours social work service commencing in 2012.

Establishment of an out-of-hours social work service is a key recommendation on the Ryan Report. Earlier this year Minister Fitzgerald personally took-over the chair of the Ryan Report Implementation Group.

Minister Fitzgerald stated: “Recent reports have highlighted the need to establish an out-of-hours social work service. Families’ crises don’t take a break after 5pm or at weekends, neither should our social work services.

“In line with the Programme for Government, I am committed to delivering on the establishment of an out-of-hours social work service. I welcome the progress being made with the two pilot projects in Cork and Donegal.

“While the demand for the service has been low, it is important that they are in place. But in these times of fiscal constraint it is vital that we identify a service model which is both efficient and financially sustainable. The pilot project will be important in informing the service development and I look forward to receiving the recommendations from the HSE National Oversight Group in the New Year.

The commitment within the Ryan Report is to put in place a national out-of-hours crisis intervention social work service, built into the existing HSE out-of-hours service.

The Donegal pilot is being conducted in conjunction with the NowDoc service to receive and respond to telephone referrals from the Donegal Garda Siochana using a Social Worker out-of-hours list.

The Cork Pilot Project employees HSE Social Workers, with two staff on call each night and eight staff on call at weekends to cover 4 shifts.

Both of these pilot projects are being developed in close liaison with the existing HSEEmergency Place of Safety Service’ which operates outside the greater Dublin area. Under this service, Gardaí can access emergency placements for children who are found to be at risk out of hours. This service involves the out of hours placement of a child in a family setting until the next working day, when the local social work service assumes responsibility for the case.

The Crisis Intervention Service operating in the Greater Dublin Area provides an out-of-hours emergency social work service to young people under the age of 18 who are in crisis.

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