Children’s services publication statement 12 October 2020
The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has today published an inspection report on a children’s residential centre.
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 and reports on its findings to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.
An unannounced inspection of a statutory children’s residential centre in the Tusla Dublin North East region was carried out on 29 and 30 July 2020. The findings of the inspection showed varying levels of compliance with the national standards.
Children who talked with inspectors said they got on well with staff and felt comfortable talking with them about any issues they had. Each child had an allocated social worker and they were satisfied with the level of contact they had with them. Each child was familiar with their care plans and felt that their education and health needs were being met. The children said that their opinions were valued and that they were supported to prepare for leaving care, but some were anxious about their future.
Children described to inspectors how the COVID-19 pandemic had a negative impact on them. They said that they felt unsafe and unhappy during the first four months of the pandemic, but they acknowledged the staff efforts to support them through this time.
There were practices and initiatives in place in the centre to promote and protect the health, wellbeing and development of each child. Children were aware of their rights and knew how to make a complaint about the service. There were systems in place regarding planning for children’s aftercare. However, some child protection and welfare concerns had not been reported in line with statutory requirements. Following the inspection, adequate assurances were provided by the centre in relation to these concerns. In one case, the absence of an up-to-date voluntary care agreement required escalation by inspectors to the relevant social work department.
The centre was well managed on a day-to-day basis, and the systems in place ensured good communication with staff and children, as well as good oversight and monitoring of practice. Risk management systems, including how risks were recorded and reported, were identified as areas for improvement. The centre was adequately resourced in terms of staffing, but a small number of staff did not have the appropriate Garda Vetting disclosures in place.
A compliance plan was put in place by the centre to address non-compliances found in this inspection.
The inspection report and compliance plan can be found on www.hiqa.ie