31 May 2017

Labour Spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs, Jan O’Sullivan TD, has said that new figures from the ISPCC today highlight the need for an out-of hours social work service.

In its annual report for 2016, the ISPCC revealed that 75 per cent of all calls to Childline happened outside office hours.

Deputy O’Sullivan commented:

“The ISPCC deserves praise for the excellent and vital service it provides to vulnerable children, with over a thousand calls a day recorded last year alone.

“However these figures also show that the majority of calls were made outside office hours. As the Childline CEO Caroline O’Sullivan pointed out, this can often be a time when children might feel most vulnerable or in need of support.

“Dr Geoffrey Shannon’s report earlier this week also confirmed concerns I’ve been raising for some time about the need for a comprehensive, 24-hour social work service for children at risk.

“We can’t have a situation whereby in the evening time or early hours children are unable to avail of the help they might need; this is not 9-5 situation.

“The Government also needs to ramp up efforts to recruit more social workers into the system, and move to encourage those trained and experienced staff who might have moved to other areas, to return to this line of work.

“Services like Childline provide tremendous support to vulnerable children but can’t be expected to do the heavy lifting where the State is falling short.”

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