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Tusla launches new campaign seeking carers for children seeking international protection in Ireland

Tusla – Child and Family Agency has launched a new awareness and recruitment campaign to find carers for separated children seeking international protection. The ‘Tusla Separated Children Seeking International Protection’ campaign will run from the 6th – 12th September.

Tusla requires a panel of carers from different family, cultural, religious, social and linguistic backgrounds to reflect the diversity of unaccompanied minors coming into care in the State, many of whom are teenagers. The initiative is Tusla’s first dedicated public information campaign to recruit a range of carers for this vulnerable cohort of children.

Tusla participates in missions to assist European Union relief efforts to help children in migration and provide them with safety and shelter. As part of an EU-wide project, Ireland undertook to accept 36 unaccompanied minors from Greece. Eight young people arrived in June 2020, and another 13 were brought to Ireland in July 2021.  Tusla is in the process of receiving another 15 children who will be arriving here in September 2021. Other children also present at Irish borders alone and are not part of any international refugee programme.

Speaking at the launch of the ‘Separated Children Seeking International Protection’ campaign today, the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability and Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman TD said: “Irish carers can play an extremely important role in providing a home to refugee children coming to Ireland who have been separated from their parents and families. Ireland acts as a safe haven for these most vulnerable of people, and that refuge is first and foremost built around a caring and supportive home environment. These children need a welcoming place of safety and protection, and so we are asking people to consider becoming carers. I fully support Tusla in this campaign to attract carers from a variety of backgrounds who can meet the needs of these children.”

Carers are needed, who can provide a supportive environment where the young person can develop their confidence and life skills to eventually enable them to live independently. From 2016 to 2020 438 unaccompanied minors have come into the care of Tusla. At the end of July 2021 Tusla had 54 separated children seeking international protection in its care.

Tusla requires additional carers now so it can build capacity to care for such children into the future. Many unaccompanied minors arrive here as teenagers, aged 14 to 17-years-old.

Kate Duggan, Director of Services and Integration, Tusla said: “This, Tusla’s first dedicated separated children seeking international protection campaign is an opportunity for people to make a personal contribution to the shared international humanitarian effort to help children who have suffered in many ways. We have an active role in caring for these children as they settle into a family, with their educational and social networks, and preparing for adulthood. Additionally, they and their carers need to negotiate the challenges and joys of difference – ethnicity, culture, religion and language. It only takes one person to help a child and to enable them to develop their full potential as they journey through life.”

Members of the public enquiring about caring for a child seeking international protection here can visit fostering.ie, call freephone 1800 226 771 or email tusla.fostering@tusla.ie for more details.

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