The new service was launched on November 1
The new Emergency Fostering Support Service has been running as a three-month pilot scheme in the north Dublin area since August. It will now be extended nationwide, 365 days a year, from 6pm to 7am from Monday to Friday, and 9-5pm and 6pm-7am on Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays.
Linda Creamer, Tusla Service Director and national lead for Tusla Out-of-Hours Social Work Services commented: “We currently have 3,735 foster carers working with Tusla. It is essential we provide them with all possible support, information, advice and encouragement in time of difficulty in the course of their family life. In turn, this will create better outcomes for children in their care.
“Foster carers can contact their link worker during office hours, but for the first time they will now be able to contact Tusla social workers on a near round-the-clock basis if an emergency situation arises with their foster child.
“We recently held a very successful national recruitment fostering campaign, and now a new generation of foster carers will be able to benefit from this telephone service. We hope the new service offering will be an added incentive for potential foster carers to consider fostering with Tusla in the future.
“Foster carers are doing a tremendous job on behalf of the State, and Tusla want to ensure they feel supported in the invaluable role they perform in communities right across Ireland.”
Foster carers can call the Emergency Fostering Support Service, if they wish to do so, in the following types of circumstances:
- Where a child is involved in a medical emergency
- Where a child in care has gone missing from care
- Where carers are struggling to manage a challenging incident with a foster child
- Where the placement of the child is at serious and immediate risk of breakdown
- If there are medical consent queries
- If there is an urgent query regarding the foster child’s birth family
- If an emergency situation takes place within the foster family, such as a bereavement
- If a child discloses a serious child protection or welfare concern
Tusla’s new Emergency Fostering Support Service number is 1890 800 511. Professionally qualified social workers, based in Tusla’s national office in Dublin, will take the calls, offer advice, and lead out on a plan of action to mitigate any risks to the safety or wellbeing of the child/young person in care.