The children who come to the attention of social services are some of the most vulnerable in our society. Their needs must be assessed properly and help and support when needed must be timely. The Child and Family Agency (Tusla) has responsibility to protect children and promote their welfare under both the Child Care Act, 1991 and the Child and Family Act 2013. It does this by direct service provision and by funding other agencies to do so on its behalf.

A well-governed and monitored service provides consistently high quality services with minimal variation across the wider system. The best leaders and managers have created a culture of high aspirations for children in care. They provide strong oversight of practice and children’s progress, while continually looking for ways to improve the care provided. Where there is good leadership and management, children do not wait for help and support, social workers have enough time to work with families, and the workforce have the necessary skills and qualities to do the job well.

The role of HIQA is to drive improvement in the provision of health and personal social services for the benefit of the health and welfare of the public. HIQA, through its monitoring programmes, aims to provide assurances to the public that service providers are implementing and meeting National Standards and relevant regulations and are making quality and safety improvements that safeguard children.

Child Protection and Welfare Services

All children have a right to be safe and to have access to appropriate services and support to enable their growth and development.

Child protection is the process of protecting individual children identified as suffering, or likely to suffer from, significant harm as a result of abuse or neglect.

HIQA commenced monitoring of child protection and welfare services in 2012. We monitor the 17 Tusla child protection and welfare services to measure their compliance with the National Standards for the Protection and Welfare of Children (2012)and its implementation of Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children (2017). Our monitoring programme has been developed to ensure that the State is protecting the most vulnerable children in society.

Thematic Programme

The thematic programme focuses on those national standards related to key aspects of quality and safety in the management of referrals to Tusla’s child protection and welfare service, with the aim of supporting quality improvement in these and other areas of the service.

When children and their families are first referred (or re-referred) to Tusla, they should experience a service that ensures the safety of the child or children, consults with them and includes them in assessing their needs. The service should involve them in planning and implementing actions that will ensure children’s needs are met and that they are kept safe.

 

Alternate Care Services

Tusla has a statutory responsibility to provide Alternative Care Services under the provisions of the Child Care Act, 1991, and the Children Act, 2001

Children who require admission to care are accommodated through placement in foster care, placement with relatives, or residential care.

Residential care is provided for children through statutory, private and voluntary agencies. HIQA’s role is to regulate statutory residential services and Tusla currently registers and inspects the voluntary and private agencies.

Foster Care Services – Statutory

We monitor the 17 Tusla foster care services to measure their compliance with the National Standards for Foster Care (2003)

And its implementation of Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children (2017). Our monitoring programme has been developed to ensure that the State is protecting the most vulnerable children in society.

Our 2019 monitoring programme is to carry out phase 2 of a 3 phased focused programme of statutory foster care services to review the arrangements in place for the assessment of need for children in care, the care planning and review process including the preparation for leaving care, matching and safeguarding in line with the National Standards and Regulations.

Foster Care Services – Private

Tusla purchases foster care placements from seven private providers of foster care services

(all foster care placements are approved by Tusla). HIQA commenced its inspection of privately provided foster care services in 2014. Private foster care services are inspected by HIQA against the same National Standards as statutory services, where applicable.

Children’s Residential Centres

HIQA monitors statutory children’s residential centres to measure their compliance with

the National Standards for Children’s Residential Centres (2018), Regulations and the implementation of Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children (2017). Our monitoring programme has been developed to ensure that the State is protecting the most vulnerable children in society.

Special Care Units

Special care units are prescribed as 'designated centres' in the Health Act 2007 (as amended by the Child Care (Amendment) Act 2011)

The Health Information and Quality Authority has, among its legal functions, the responsibility to regulate the quality and safety of services provided in special care units.

Oberstown Children Detention Campus

Inspectors inspect Oberstown Campus under Section 185 and Section 186 of the Children Act 2001

As amended by Criminal Justice Act, 2006 to monitor compliance against the Standards Criteria for Children Detention Schools issued by the Department of Justice and Equality in 2008.