Children's services publication statement 16 May 2023

Date of publication:

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has today published an inspection report on the non-statutory foster care service operated by Fostering First Ireland, an independent private provider of respite, short-term and long-term foster care services. Placements with Foster Care Ireland are commissioned by the Child and Family Agency’s (Tusla) service area teams. 

HIQA is authorised by the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth under Section 69 of the Child Care Act, 1991 as amended by Section 26 of the Child Care (Amendment) Act 2011, to inspect services taking care of a child on behalf of Tusla, including non-statutory providers of foster care. HIQA monitors foster care services against the 2003 National Standards for Foster Care.
HIQA conducted an inspection of Fostering First Ireland from 13 to 15 February 2023. This was the fourth inspection of the non-statutory service by HIQA since 2016. In this inspection, HIQA found that all of the eight national standards assessed were compliant.

This inspection found that there were strong governance arrangements and structures to ensure the delivery of a high quality service. Fostering First Ireland pro-actively sought to work collaboratively with foster carers, children and external agencies to continuously improve service delivery. Fostering First Ireland had policies and procedures in place to promote the effective and safe delivery of their service. These were reviewed in a timely manner and policies were updated in line with legislation, regulations and standards.

Fostering First Ireland’s approach to matching children with foster carers had a human rights focus which was reflected in the work they carried out with families and children. All foster carers had a link social worker and received regular supervision. Fostering First Ireland ensured that foster carers had access to the information, advice and professional support necessary to enable them to provide good quality care to children. The service had clear and robust systems in place to promote the safety of children in all aspects of service provision, including child protection concerns. The service was responsive in managing representations and complaints made by children, their families and foster carers.

Fostering First Ireland demonstrated a strong and positive commitment to the recruitment and retention of foster carers and had recruitment and retention strategies in place for foster carers. 

The inspection report can be found at the link below.