Thursday, 14th December 2017
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ChildLine and mentoring service closed on December 1st due to funding problems

Waterford TD Mary Butler has said the decision to close the local Waterford ChildLine centre and phone service will leave many vulnerable children in the South East with no one to turn to in a time of need.

Staff and volunteers have been informed that the service will shut from December 1st, and services will be transferred to the Cork office.

"We have been informed that the ISPCC hopes to transfer all the calls received from the Waterford office to the Cork office.

"This simply isn’t going to work. The Cork service is, at present, only able to answer three in every four calls.

"How will they deal with an additional 30,000 calls from Waterford? I am very worried that many vulnerable children will have their cries for help unanswered.

"In addition to the ChildLine service, the in-person mentoring service that is provided will also cease to operate. This is a very valuable local service, and cannot be lost.

"The total cost of maintaining Waterford’s dedicated ChildLine service as well as the mentoring service is just €100,000 per annum.

"TUSLA only provide €9000 per year to support these activities. Minister Zappone needs to step in and provide the resources to keep these vital child-focused services running.

"This reduction in services must be seen in tandem with the paltry funding that Tusla provides for an out of hours social work services in the southern region. Just €59,187 was provided for this service in 2017 to cover the whole of Waterford, Wexford, Cork, Kerry, South Tipperary and Carlow.

"We have a moral obligation to ensure that when a child is in danger, alone or needs to speak to someone that their call is always answered," concluded Butler.

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