Prejudice in Child Protection a Concern for Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre

In response to today’s report on the emergency removal of children from their families by Gardaí, Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre supports calls for TUSLA to provide a 24 hour service for child protection and we call on Minister Zappone to make this a reality.

Adequate resources and interagency co-operation between TUSLA and An Garda Síochána are essential. Child protection services should be provided by the State and not outsourced.

We are particularly concerned that the State is still not implementing an ethnic identifier in order to monitor the equality of services – as this report demonstrates.

“The Logan Report (Garda Síochána Act 2005 (Section 42) (Special Inquiries relating to Garda Síochána) Order 2013) on the removal of two Roma children with blonde hair from their families using these emergency powers in 2013 – which lead to today’s audit –  exposed ethnic profiling, a lack of interagency cooperation and a serious failure to act in the best interest of Roma children,” said Siobhán Curran, Roma Project Co ordinator, Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre.

“The Logan report should have been a wake-up call for Ireland’s child protection system,” said Ms. Curran,

“After what happened the Roma community in 2013 we thought this would be the point where practices would change.”

“The lack of comprehensive anti-racism and diversity training in the Gardaí and TUSLA is something we have long been aware of and shows failing in relation to ethnic minorities,” said Martin Collins, Co-Director, Pavee Point.

“We need a national action plan against racism which would ensure that all public agencies, particularly An Garda Síochána and TUSLA will ensure all staff at all levels that completed anti-racism and intercultural training, ” he said.

This echoes previous calls by HIQA in May 2015 for TUSLA to develop an inter-cultural strategy to inform the provision of social services to ethnic minority children and families.

Along with further research we call on TUSLA to make serious efforts to address child protection and child welfare concerns for Roma and Traveller children through a specific action plan.

“It is our concern,“ said Siobhan Curran “that children are removed from their families on child welfare grounds and not on child protection grounds.

“If a family is facing poverty issues – all efforts should be made to keep the family together and to support the family in accessing resources – not in removing the children from that family.”