Children’s services publication statement 12 November 2018
The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has today published two inspection reports on children’s residential centres.
HIQA is authorised by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs under Section 69 of the Child Care Act, 1991 as amended by Section 26 of the Child Care (Amendment) Act 2011, to inspect children’s residential care services provided by the Child and Family Agency (Tusla). HIQA monitors Tusla’s performance against the National Standards for Children’s Residential Centres (2001) and reports on its findings to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.
In an unannounced inspection of a centre in the Dublin Mid-Leinster region, on 1 and 2 August 2018, inspectors found that children were well cared for by an experienced and committed staff team. Although their health and emotional needs were met, inspectors found that not all children had an educational placement for the coming academic year and there were delays in the assessment of their educational needs. Children were happy in the centre and the staff worked hard to develop trusting and positive relationships with each child.
All of the children were allocated a named social worker, but care planning for some children could have been better, as up-to-date care plans were not in place for all of the children.
No child was found to be unsafe in the centre. However, safeguarding practices needed to improve, particularly in relation to vetting people who had direct contact with children inside the centre.
There was a new management structure in place in the centre and inspectors found that managers were in the process of transitioning into their respective roles.
An unannounced inspection of a centre in the Dublin North East region was carried out on 14 and 15 August 2018. This centre provided a service to young parents who could live in the centre with their babies. Inspectors found that this centre provided good support to these young people and that their rights as young parents were respected and promoted. There was a distinct focus on assisting young people to develop life and parenting skills within a supportive environment and this continued on an outreach basis for a period of time after young people left the centre.
Although the outreach aspect of this centre was beneficial to the young people, inspectors found that aftercare supports provided by Tusla were not always in place when they were needed.
This was a well-managed centre, but the work of the staff team needed to be supported through better guidance on specific procedures. Staff supervision needed to improve, as it was not always timely and had not been provided to some staff for over four months. There were gaps in the provision of core training from staff and particularly in relation to fire safety, first aid and manual handling. Inspectors sought assurances in relation to a fire safety risk they found and this was promptly provided by the centre manager.