Children’s services publication statement 14 July 2020

Date of publication:

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has today published a risk-based inspection report on the Child Protection and Welfare Service operated by the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) in the Cork service area.

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 a risk-based inspection of the child protection and welfare service in Cork over three days in January 2020. This inspection aimed to assess compliance with the national standards relating to children placed on the Child Protection Notification System (CPNS) who were subject to a child protection safety plan, and to assess the aligned governance arrangements in place to ensure effective and timely service delivery to these children.

Of the five standards inspected, four were identified as major non-compliances with the remaining standard found to be moderately non-compliant.

Governance arrangements in place for the CPNS required strengthening. Improvements were required in the oversight of cases, staff supervision, the review of complex cases and interagency arrangements, particularly where children had a disability or mental health issues. Methods of assurance were underdeveloped in the service area and, as a result, there was an inconsistency in the quality of service provided to children on the CPNS.

Initial child protection conferences were comprehensively facilitated, and children and their families were actively involved in the conferences. The content of child protection safety plans devised at child protection conferences were of good quality, but the implementation and delivery of the plans varied.

The service area provided responses to address the non-compliances identified on inspection.