Help seeking and help providing in Ireland
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Devaney, Carmel, Rodriguez, Leonor, & Cassidy, Anne. (2019). Help seeking and help providing in Ireland. Developing Practice: The Child, Youth and Family Work Journal, 54, 35-44.
Recent developments in the Irish child welfare system have involved a targeted move towards the provision of accessible help at a more timely point for children, young people and their families. It is widely accepted that preventing maltreatment or minimising the harm experienced by children and young people is the desired approach in social service provision. The rhetoric of prevention and early intervention has been [almost] centre stage in Ireland for well over a decade (Devaney and Dolan, 2017). However, it is only in the very recent past that this has translated into a practical orientation within service provision. Prior to this, there was quite a different landscape in children and families services. The current statutory child and family agency, Tusla, was established in 2014 as part of a comprehensive reform and consolidation of child protection, early intervention and family support services in Ireland. Before Tusla was established, child protection and welfare was delivered as part of a wider health and social services programme including hospital and primary care (Burns and McGregor, 2019). Prevention and family support services played an important but relatively minor part in terms of resources and staffing in the former statutory structures and was delivered more prominently within the voluntary and community sector (See Burns and McGregor, 2019; Devaney and McGregor, 2016; Devaney and Rooney, 2018). However, there has been a significant reorientation in this regard. Tusla now has a dedicated programme of Prevention, Partnership and Family Support (PPFS), which operates within its child protection and welfare function. This paper considers the traditional attitudes to, and arrangements for, help seeking and help providing in Ireland and debates the current approaches and their potential.
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