HIQA’s inspection of Five Rivers Ireland focused on the service’s compliance with eight standards including; safeguarding and child protection, assessment and approval of foster carers, supervision and support, reviews of foster carers, recruitment and retention, staff training and qualifications, effective policies and management and monitoring of the service. This inspection found that of the eight standards assessed, five standards were compliant, and three standards were substantially compliant.
There were effective governance and management systems in place and the service had an adequate number of professionally qualified staff to deliver a high-quality service. Management systems were in place to enable effective oversight and monitoring of the service.
The service had a number of safeguarding arrangements in place, and staff and foster carers were aware of their responsibilities under Children First, and had completed the relevant training. A number of foster carers required their training in Children First to be updated. All foster carers had An Garda Síochána (police) vetting. Allegations and serious concerns were well managed and safety plans were implemented where required.
All foster carers had an allocated link social worker who provided regular support and supervision. There was also a 24-hour on-call service available to foster carers.
Staff and foster carers were aware of the operational policies and plans in place. Recruitment processes were safe and in line with legislation. There were sufficient resources in place to recruit and train foster carers and enquiries were responded to in a timely manner.
Comprehensive assessments were carried out on foster care applicants; however, they were not always completed within the required 16-week time frame. Some of this was due to restrictions in place during COVID-19. Reviews were carried out of foster carers and the majority of reviews were comprehensive and included all relevant documentation.
Training was provided for staff and the majority of staff received regular supervision; however, supervision records did not always reflect the progress of agreed actions.
Improvements were required in relation to staff training and development plans, staff supervision and updated mandatory training for foster carers.