Children’s services publication statement 18 March 2021

Date of publication:

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has today published an inspection report on Oberstown Children Detention Campus.

HIQA is authorised by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs under section 185 of the Children Act 2001, as amended, to monitor Oberstown Children Detention Campus and provide advice to the Minister. HIQA inspects Oberstown Children Detention Campus to ensure that the wellbeing, welfare and safety of children is promoted and protected, and to measure its compliance with the Standards and Criteria for Children Detention Schools (2008) and its compliance with Children First National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children (2017).

An announced inspection was carried out in Oberstown Children Detention Campus across three days between 8 and 10 December 2020. This inspection focused on staff supervision, young people’s rights, and planning for their care. Of the three standards assessed as part of this inspection, two were found to be substantially compliant and one compliant.  

Overall, this inspection found that there were improvements in the centre since the last inspection. The provision of supervision had significantly improved and the staff and managers who engaged with this inspection valued this process as a supportive mechanism, and as an opportunity to provide accountability for everyday practice. 

Over the course of this inspection, inspectors assessed how care to young people placed in the campus was planned. It was evident that a multidisciplinary and multiagency approach was taken to planning, and this was of particular note for young people known previously to the care system. The campus had continued to consult with young people, their families and other professionals in the development of care plans.

The rights of young people as set out in the standards were assessed, and the young people who met with inspectors were generally satisfied that their rights were being promoted. While life in a secure (locked) environment has its limitations and complexities, this inspection found that the campus made considerable efforts to give young people a voice, not only in relation to their care, but in the operations of the campus. There were good systems in place to advocate for young people, and external independent advocates were welcomed to the campus to engage directly with young people, and hear their stories.

Despite these positive findings, the quality of records in Oberstown required improvement, and this has been a consistent finding of previous inspections. Although there were some improvements, more was needed to ensure records fully reflected practice, the implementation of policy and procedure, and how people were held to account for their areas of responsibility.