Tusla ‘biased against’ ethnic families: Social workers claim care rates for African children ‘disproportionately high’
By Chinedu Onyejelem
The number of children of African extraction removed from their family homes by Tusla is disproportionately high, according to sources.
Speaking to Metro Éireann under condition of anonymity, three social workers from different backgrounds claimed that the number of children of African background taken into care is, according to one, “higher than those of Asian and South American backgrounds”.
The latest available data from the Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, states that there are 6,276 children from all ethnicities in care. The agency did not identify how many of them were ethnic Africans.
Metro Éireann’s sources believe that the main reasons for ethnic African children being removed from the home were abuse and neglect – such as smacking, leaving children as young as 10 alone at home while the parents are at work, and the use of threatening language.
The social workers also claim that the majority of their colleagues employed by Tusla are allegedly “hard bent on taking African children into care at any slightest provocation … due to prejudice”.
They added that some of the reasons for taking ethnic African children into care are “trivial” and that similar incidents in white Irish homes are dismissed.
It’s being claimed that Tusla is struggling in its policy to promote the culture and identity of every child in care, and that the agency has done very little to resolve the shortage of culturally appropriate foster families.
In a statement to Metro Éireann, Tusla said it “receives both child protection and welfare concerns and all concerns are treated in the same way, regardless of ethnicity. They are screened and assessed in line with ‘Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children’.”
The statement added that the agency “makes every effort to ensure that children can remain with their families” such as the Prevention, Partnership and Family Support programme, which helps families to “address issues at an early stage”.
Tusla also urged more people from diverse backgrounds to apply to become foster carers.