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Children; Equality; Disability; Integration and Youth | Children in Foster Care

To ask the Minister for Children; Equality; Disability; Integration and Youth the total number of children currently in foster care at present; the extent to which the level of care is satisfactory and in accordance with regulations; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Tusla has informed me that at the end of July 2022, there were 5,208 children in foster care comprising 89.4% of all children in care (5,826). Of the 5,208 children in foster care, 29% (1,492) were in relative foster care.

Both Tusla and the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth are committed to promoting safe and high quality practice in foster care. This is achieved through the application of Regulations and Standards that govern the placement of children and young people within a foster care setting.

The placement of children in foster care is governed by the National Standards for Foster Care 2003, and underpinned by the Child Care (Placement of Children in Foster Care) 1995 and the Child Care (Placement of Children with Relatives) Regulations 1995.

 HIQA carries out announced and unannounced inspections of children’s services, including foster care services.  HIQA inspections are carried out against the relevant Regulations and Standards.

 Tusla in discharging its statutory responsibilities under the Child Care Acts must have the best interests of the child as its paramount consideration. It actively monitors every placement of every child in care, including foster care, to ensure its appropriateness to the needs of that child, and any concerns or breaches of standards or regulations are addressed in this context.

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