Children’s services publication statement 16 May 2019
The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has today published its first inspection report on Tusla’s compliance with the Child Care (Placement of Children in Care) Regulations, 1995 (22 – 25).
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 social work services provided to children placed in residential care by the Child and Family Agency (Tusla).
An announced inspection of the Tusla West region was carried out between 28 January and 1 February 2019. Of the four regulations assessed, two were identified as substantially compliant and two were found to be compliant.
Inspectors found that children placed in residential care at that time were allocated a social worker who visited them regularly and ensured their case was reviewed. Some children had experienced times when they did not have a social worker, but this did not impact on planning for their care. Care plans for children were good quality and generally up to date. There was good evidence of the participation and inclusion of children, their families and other professionals in the development of these plans. However, there was a need for the region to ensure children’s participation in the child-in-care review process was clearly recorded.
Although there was a good level of compliance with the regulations in the region, there were areas of practice which could be improved upon. For example, there was variance in terms of how social work records were maintained and the timeframes within which they were required to be updated. Furthermore, there were delays in some social workers being set up on information communication systems, and this was reported as a risk for one of service areas inspected.
In addition, the geographical location and the availability of children’s residential centres in the region impacted on the ability of service areas to place children in centres within their local community. This resulted in social workers having to travel considerable distances to carry out statutory and other visits to children, and potentially drew on staffing resources.