Two reports on the deaths of nine children and young people say that Tusla still faces challenges from the demands placed on it
The child and family agency Tusla has been cleared of the deaths of several youngsters it was helping.
Two new reports say that nine children and young people, who were known to protection services, did not die as a result of the quality of services they received.
One of the reports focuses on the deaths of five young people who were known to child protection services, while another is a composite report on the cases of four children and young people who died from natural causes.
The reports - conducted by the National Review Panel (NRP) - say that Tusla still faces challenges from the demands placed on it.
In the report on the children and young people whose deaths were from natural causes, the authors write: "It is inevitable that where child protection and health concerns co-exist, and particularly where children are terminally ill, the family will be in receipt of numerous services."
"In these circumstances pressure and distress experienced by families could be reduced if one discipline or team took the lead in coordinating services to reduce pressure on the family and avoid overwhelming them," the report adds.
The NRP also says there is a particular need for cooperation between protection services and the disability & mental health sectors.
Speaking about the publications, a spokesperson for Tusla says the organisation is committed to constant improvement and is already taking steps to respond to the report's recommendations.
This includes the development of specialist services for children displaying sexualised behaviour, and early intervention by social workers when needed.
Cormac Quinlan, interim director of policy and strategy at Tusla, said: “On behalf of Tusla I wish to extend my sincere sympathies to all those affected by the deaths of the young people mentioned in these reviews. Whilst the reports highlight that the deaths were not as a result of the quality of services received, Tusla continues to be committed to the constant improvement of the services we provide."
"Keeping children safe requires the cooperation and collaboration of all services working with children and Tusla welcomes the recommendations that support the ongoing integration and cooperation of the respective services identified in the report," he adds.