Children's services publication statement 18 September 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 Foster Care Ireland (FCI), an independent private provider of foster care services. Placements with FCI are commissioned by the Child and Family Agency’s (Tusla’s) service area teams.

HIQA is authorised by the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth under Section 69 of the Childcare Act 1991, as amended by Section 26 of the Child Care (Amendment) Act 2011, to inspect foster care services provided by Tusla, to report on its findings to the Minister and 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 FCI from 20 to 22 June 2023. This inspection found that, of the eight national standards assessed, FCI was compliant in seven standards and substantially compliant in one standard.

Children’s rights were promoted, protected and facilitated by staff and foster carers. FCI maintained a panel of foster carers in line with the relevant standard and had a service plan in place for 2023 which set out their plan for the development and delivery of a high-quality foster care service.

FCI had strong governance arrangements and structures in place to ensure the delivery of a high-quality service. The management team had implemented effective systems to manage and monitor the service and to ensure that the service was safe and effective. The service had clear and comprehensive systems in place to promote the safety of children in all aspects of service provision.

Inspectors noted that FCI had policies and procedures in place to promote the effective and safe delivery of their service. All foster carers had a link worker and received regular supervision. There were high levels of support, advice and information provided to foster carers which led to good retention. The provider’s approach to matching children with foster carers had a human rights focus.

There were some areas that required improvement including aspects of quality assurance and record-keeping, particularly in the recording of risk. A small number of policies required minor amendments. These areas for improvement had been identified by management and were included in their service development plan.  

The inspection report and compliance plan can be found at the link below.