The Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs is to examine the challenge of recruiting and retaining social workers in Ireland.

Members will hear from representatives of the child and family agency Tusla and the Health Information and Quality Authority.

In its opening statement, Tusla will say Ireland is not educating enough social workers to meet service demands for the coming years.

Its interim Chief Executive Pat Smyth says it will take a number of years to resolve the issue.

Set up in 2014, Tusla brought staff based in more than 400 locations together. They were dealing with more than 43,000 child protection and welfare referrals each year.

Once its funding increased in 2016, it developed its own recruitment service, which had been under the umbrella of the Health Service Executive.

Currently, 215 social workers are trained in four universities, but Mr Smyth will tell the committee that demand for social workers is not being met by the supply of graduates.

Almost two thirds (65%) of the class of 2018 was recruited by Tusla, which is a young workforce.

However, given that child protection is viewed as the most challenging work in the sector, employees often leave their positions within two years.

One solution from Tusla is a revised pay structure or salary banding that recognises the particular challenges encountered by social workers within child protection.

HIQA's opening statement notes that during a statutory investigation into Tusla's management of child sexual abuse allegations against adults of concern last year, Tusla staff frequently expressed concern about staff recruitment and retention.

HIQA's Director of Regulation and Chief Inspector of Social Services Mary Dunnion will also point out that Tusla is not alone in its staffing difficulties.

Tusla will be advised, along with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, to manage the same workforce challenges faced by other jurisdictions and to avoid an "organisational mind-set" that sees such problems as insurmountable due to factors outside its control.