NUI Galway study finds significant improvements in Tusla Child and Family Support Services


The UNESCO Child and Family Centre at NUI Galway has finalised a four-year study that has found significant improvements in Tusla’s Prevention, Early Intervention and Family Support services.

The NUI Galway research concluded that the culture of Tusla is changing and that it is becoming more preventative in focus and inclusive of parents and children.

The reports were launched with Tusla-Child and Family Agency today in Dublin.

Key Report Findings

  1. Overall, the research shows Tusla is getting better at providing early help for children, young people and their families.
  2. Significantly, the research is showing that Tusla’s flagship new programme for providing early help, Meitheal, is welcomed by families and is making a positive difference to their lives. When fully in place, the system may help reduce the numbers entering the child protection system.
  3. Importantly Meitheal is improving outcomes for children and young people over time, particularly from the perspective of mothers. Maternal well-being was the most significant predictor of family outcomes suggesting that supporting mothers is key to supporting families.
  4. The study also demonstrates good work by Tusla, benchmarked against international best practice, in listening to and including children, in its policies and the capacity of the front-line workers. There is strong evidence of children and young people’s participation being embedded across Tusla.
  5. The research results indicate promising results from Tusla’s work in supporting parents through its innovative Parent Support Champions programme.
  6. Overall, while the public’s awareness of Tusla increased over the four-year study, the research findings have shown that in the main, families turn to and depend on family and close friends for help and support.

In 2016, 47,399 child protection and welfare referrals were made to Tusla-Child and Family Agency, and 6,267 children and young people were in its care in 2016.

At the launch today, Tusla Chief Executive Fred McBride said: “The Prevention, Partnership and Family Support (PPFS) programme is growing, and with our Tusla National Child and Family Support Week promotional campaign underway from September 17-23, we hope that even more people will seek help from our range of family support services.

“Staff at the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre have been at our side to develop, and critically assess the PPFS programme.

“This work provides us with a rich understanding of the PPFS programme and it’s potential. The research carried out by NUI Galway has been executed in an academically robust and systematic manner, and provides us with a clearly defined body of knowledge that allows us to examine what we are doing, and why we are doing it.”