The number of referrals to child protection and welfare services increased last year compared to 2020.

Tusla's latest annual report shows that it managed 73,069 referrals in 2021 compared to 69,712 the year before.

There was also a rise in the number of children that received family support service last year - up 1,451 from 2020.

There were 5,863 children in care by the end of last year - 90% of whom were in foster care.

The Child and Family Agency said 2021 was "underscored" by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It also pointed out that it was effected by the "severe impact" of the cyber-attack on the HSE ICT network.

The agency said its response required "a large-scale mobilisation and delivery of a rapid business continuity and recovery programme" to ensure the full recovery of all services.

The 2021 annual report is the first to be published within a three-year planning and delivery framework plan, which was launched by Tusla last year.

The corporate plan sets out three strategic priority change areas of "practice, culture and structure".

There is now a new Executive Management Team (EMT), and six Regional Chief Officers (RCOs) to manage local delivery of all services, in the devolved new six region arrangement.

Last week, the Health Information and Quality Authority published a report of an inspection to assess whether Tusla social workers in the midlands service area were fulfilling their statutory duties of monitoring placements for children in residential care.

Children who participated in the inspection spoke positively about the aspects of the service being inspected.

They were happy in the centres where they lived and talked about the positive achievements they had made while living there.

Parents were satisfied overall about the plans in place for their children's care and spoke highly of the arrangements in place for family contact which they said had helped them and their children.

The impact of the war on Ukraine on child services here will not be evident until the next year's annual report.