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Home > A review on the availability and comparability of statistics on child protection and welfare, including children in care, collated by Tusla: Child and Family Agency with statistics published in other jurisdictions.

Furey, Eamonn and Canavan, John (2019) A review on the availability and comparability of statistics on child protection and welfare, including children in care, collated by Tusla: Child and Family Agency with statistics published in other jurisdictions. Galway: UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, National University of Ireland Galway.

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This research arises in the context of a commission from Tusla’s National Research Office, supported by the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre (UCFRC) to undertake a project focused on the comparability of Tusla’s child protection and welfare data with data from other jurisdictions. This research was commissioned in the context of an ongoing service agreement between Tusla and the UCFRC. The overall question and sub questions are:

  • What are the similarities and/or differences that exist between data collected in other jurisdictions and that collected by Tusla?
  • What are the legislative and methodological differences for each jurisdiction? · Are definitions the same across jurisdictions?
  • Is the data collected consistent across jurisdictions?
  • Can comparisons be made with the data collected by other jurisdictions with data collected by Tusla?
  • Based on what is collected in other jurisdictions, what are the gaps in Tusla’s data collection? Flowing from these questions, the study objectives are:
  • To establish, internationally, based on published statistics, what data is collected on child protection and welfare services including children in care.
  • To identify differences in definitions, legislation and methodologies in data collection practices and systems in other jurisdictions.
  • Taking one full year of data, to be identified by the researchers, to establish valid comparability, if any, of the data identified with what Tusla collects.
  • To make recommendations for Tusla data collection systems, policy and practice.

In sum, in order to gain an understanding of how Tusla compares in relation to other jurisdictions, this report collates publicly available statistics from other jurisdictions on child protection, child welfare, and children in care and where possible draws comparisons with data items collected in Ireland. It aims to assist Tusla in identifying gaps in their own data collection and provide recommendations based on indicators currently measured elsewhere but not by Tusla.

A number of jurisdictions were identified for comparison by Tusla’s National Research Office: Northern Ireland; England; Wales; Scotland; Norway; Canada; Australia and America. The rationale for selecting these countries related to the orientation of their child protection systems. Through preliminary research it was evident that each jurisdiction collects sufficient amounts of aggregate data for comparative purposes. To understand the similarities and differences in the available data, the types of child protection and welfare systems and the associated legislative background would be reviewed with a particular focus on whether their orientation was a protective or preventative and supportive one.

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