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Tusla Child and Family Agency

Educational Welfare Services Tusla (Tuam)

Who We Are

Under the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000 Educational Welfare Officers (EWOs) of the Child and Family Agency work with young people and their families who are experiencing difficulty with school attendance. The main priority of their work is around the welfare of children and young people and on ensuring that concerns and problems around attendance are addressed before attendance becomes a crisis issue.

What We Do

Our mission is with the child at the centre, to design and deliver supportive, coordinated and evidence-informed services that strive to ensure positive outcomes for children. Our objective in the Educational Welfare Service is that attendance, participation and retention in full-time education is embedded in service delivery for all children and that the benefits of increased child and family participation in education is acknowledged across all sectors of society. In practical terms if a school contacts an EWO with concerns in relation to a student’s school attendance, the EWO will talk to the school principal or designated school staff member and find out what efforts have been made to date to help the child. The EWO may then decide to contact the family and meet with them. Home visits are an essential part of an EWO’s work and the first meeting with an EWO very often opens up a pathway of solutions for a child and family in need. Once underlying problems or issues are identified, the EWO can then seek to address the family’s unique set of circumstances in conjunction with school staff and other local support services as necessary.

How We Do It

The main work of an Educational Welfare Officer (EWO) is around the welfare of the child and the family and on ensuring that concerns and problems are dealt with before school attendance becomes a crisis issue. We have a model of work which involves carrying out an initial screening on the referral after it is allocated to the designated EWO. This involves speaking to all those involved with the child / family. We then agree a target / intervention plan for the child / family and we set up agreed methods of reviewing these targets.

However, if a parent fails in his or her duty to ensure that their child attends school, then the EWO has the power to take legal action against the parent under the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000.

Taking legal action against a parent or guardian is a very serious matter. It is an action of last resort when all other offers of support have failed and the parent has refused to co-operate with the EWO.

Imposing a sanction on parents or guardians for non-attendance is the responsibility of the local District court in each case having heard all the evidence including that of the EWO and the parent/guardian. The law provides that upon conviction either a fine or up to one month’s imprisonment, or both, be imposed.

Who We Serve

Under the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000 parents are responsible for making sure their child receives an education. The law also says that every child between the ages of 6 and 16 must attend school or otherwise receive an education. Most children attend recognised schools although some are educated at home or in non-recognised schools.

Quick Reference

Educational Welfare Services Tusla (Tuam)
Tuam Family Centre,
Dublin Rd,
Co. Galway
Is a Referral Required? No



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