Children’s services publication statement 18 February 2019

Date of publication:

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has today published three inspection reports on children’s statutory residential centres. HIQA monitors services used by some of the most vulnerable children in the state against the National Standards for Children’s Residential Centres to provide assurance to the public that children are receiving a service that meets the requirements of quality standards and to provide advice to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs and the Child and Family Agency (Tusla).

These reports are in relation to three unannounced full inspections (centre ID numbers 4170, 4177 and 4165) carried out in October 2019. These centres were located in Tusla’s Dublin North East and Dublin Mid-Leinster regions. Children spoke positively about their care in these centres and they were aware of their rights as individuals. 

Inspectors found that children were kept safe in these centres. While there were systems in place to notify Tusla’s social work departments of child protection or welfare concerns, these systems were not sufficient in one centre as not all staff had access to Tusla’s web-portal to make notifications. Interim measures were put in place but this required a long-term remedy. Some child protection concerns in another centre remained open for long periods of time and the centre manager was addressing this with the relevant social work department. 

All of the children had an allocated social worker who visited them in their placements, but there was varied practice in relation to care planning and reviews. In one centre, a child’s annual review of their care plan was late and care plans were not always provided to the centre in a timely way. Records of care plan review meetings in another centre did not always note if children attended these meetings.  It is important to ensure children do attend, and that they can contribute to decisions made about their lives. In addition, inspectors found that planning for children’s care in one Tusla region was sometimes difficult, as children were placed where a bed was made available, as opposed to the most suitable placement.

All three centres were managed well on a day-to-day basis and management systems were continuously developing to ensure they were sufficient to monitor practice and drive continuous improvement. Staffing levels varied and one centre had agency staff to address staffing deficiencies. Every effort was made to ensure the same agency staff worked in the centre to provide a stable environment for the children. 

Action plan responses were provided to address the non-compliances identified in the three inspections, along with timelines for implementing these actions.