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Home > A study of Tusla - Child and Family Agency’s actions and decision-making process following An Garda Síochána’s application of Section 12 of the Child Care Act 1991.

Devaney, Carmel and Crosse, Rosemary and Rodriguez, Leonor and Silke, Charlotte (2020) A study of Tusla - Child and Family Agency’s actions and decision-making process following An Garda Síochána’s application of Section 12 of the Child Care Act 1991. Galway: UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, National University of Ireland Galway.

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Tusla - Child and Family Agency (hereafter called Tusla) and An Garda Síochána (AGS) are the key agencies empowered by law to carry out assessments and investigations, respectively, of suspected cases of child abuse and neglect in Ireland. Each agency manages its particular area of responsibility, and their joint efforts are designed to ensure that the protection and welfare of children receive priority attention.

This research was commissioned by Tusla - Child and Family Agency, at the request of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs. This study aims to investigate actions and decision-making processes following An Garda Síochána’s application of S12 of the Child Care Act 1991 from the perspective of Tusla. The objectives of the study are therefore to:

  1. Identify the pathways for children who have been subject to S12 of the Child Care Act 1991 between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2017
  2. Explore the rationale and decision-making process of social workers in the aftermath of S12
  3. Describe the characteristics of communications between Tusla and An Garda Síochána in relation to S12 notifications and follow-ups from the perspective of Tusla social work and Tusla management
  4. Ascertain the role of the Out-of-Hours Service in Tusla’s response to S12
  5. Examine and determine the circumstances relating to children being removed more than once.

Circumstances at the time of the S12 were grouped into specific categories. The most commonly reported reasons for invoking a Section 12 were Parenting Difficulties (n = 103) or Parental Alcohol/Drug Abuse (n = 88), closely followed by Child Behaviour Difficulties (n = 72).

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