Children’s services publication statement 10 January 2022

Date of publication:

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has today published an inspection report on the child protection and welfare service operated by the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) in the Dublin South East/Wicklow service area.

HIQA is authorised by the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth 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 Tusla’s performance against the National Standards for the Protection and Welfare of Children and advises the Minister for Children and Tusla.

HIQA conducted an inspection in Tusla’s Dublin South East/Wicklow service area over three days between 31 August and 2 September 2021. This inspection assessed compliance with the national standards relating to the management of children who are at ongoing significant risk of harm and who are placed on Tusla’s Child Protection Notification System (CPNS). Of the six standards assessed, two were judged as compliant, two were substantially compliant and two were found to be non-compliant.

Overall, this inspection found that the service provided to children on the CPNS ensured they were safe. Management structures supported the delivery of a service which protected children and promoted their welfare. However, some management systems required development in order to support effective governance and oversight. Quality assurance systems did not promote effective monitoring of key aspects of the service, such as visits to children on the CPNS and the implementation of safety plans. In addition, staff supervision required improvement and not all children’s records were updated as required.  

Tusla had interim national guidelines on child protection case conferencing and the CPNS, which were not up to date. Child protection conferences were appropriately facilitated, but there were delays in scheduling initial child protection case conferences in some cases. Review child protection conferences were good quality and while there were delays, the impact of and reasons for delays, as well as interim measures to manage the delays, were considered and clearly documented. 

The monitoring of children listed on the CPNS — including oversight of child protection safety plans — through social work visits, was not consistent and there were gaps in social work visits for some children. The quality of child protection safety plans and records of interventions required improvement. 

Inspectors found that there was good interagency working in the implementation and delivery of child protection safety plans.  

The inspection report and compliance plan can be found at the link below.