Child protection and welfare services publication statement 22 July 2020

Date of publication:

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has today published three thematic inspection reports on the Child Protection and Welfare Service operated by the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) in the Galway Roscommon, Dublin South East Wicklow and Donegal service areas. 

HIQA is authorised by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs under Section 8(1)(c) of the Health Act 2007 to monitor the quality of services provided by Tusla to protect children and promote their welfare. HIQA monitors the performance of Tusla against the National Standards for the Protection and Welfare of Children and advises the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs and Tusla.

HIQA conducted three thematic inspection of the child protection and welfare service in Galway Roscommon in January 2020, Dublin South East/Wicklow in February 2020 and Donegal in March 2020. These themed inspections were part of a programme promoting quality improvement and aimed to assess compliance with the national standards relating to managing referrals from receipt to the point of completing an initial assessment.

Of the seven standards assessed in the Galway Roscommon service area, one standard was found to be compliant, four standards were substantially compliant and two standards were partially compliant. 

Of the seven standards assessed in Dublin South East/Wicklow, three were compliant, three were substantially compliant and one was partially compliant.

Of the six standards were assessed in Donegal, two were compliant, three were substantially compliant and one was partially compliant.

Overall, the management and staff of the three service areas were child-centred in their planning and were focused on continually improving on the quality of services delivered to children. Communication with children and families was generally good across all three areas. Children were listened to and communicated with in an effective manner. The quality of initial assessments were good and children and their families were routinely consulted. Children at immediate risk or who required an immediate response were dealt with appropriately. 

At the time of the inspections, the Galway Roscommon service area had no children who were waiting for a service, while Dublin South East Wicklow and Donegal service areas had small waiting lists which were appropriately managed.

Notifications of suspected abuse to An Garda Síochána were made in a timely manner in Dublin South East Wicklow, while this was an area for further improvement in the other two areas. All three areas required further progress in ensuring the consistent monitoring and review of safety plans for children. Improvements were required to ensure safe recruitment practices in both Galway Roscommon and Dublin South East Wicklow. While staff were appropriately vetted, there were some gaps such as an absence of copies of references.

These inspection reports can be found on