Children’s services publication statement 21 February 2024

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, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth 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 rules within the Oberstown Children Detention Campus Rights Policy Framework (2020) 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 12 and 14 September 2023, which focused on the rules in relation to young people’s care, offending behaviour, restrictive practices, safeguarding, authority to suspend rules and staffing, management and governance. Of the six rules assessed as part of this inspection, one was compliant, two were substantially compliant and three were non-compliant.

The inspection found that the young people received good-quality, child-centred care and participated in meetings relevant to their care. A multidisciplinary approach was taken to planning young people’s care, and was reviewed regularly with input from young people, their parents and or guardians. Young people had access to supports and programmes to address their offending behaviour and prevent re-offending on release. However, records of children’s care required improvement to fully capture the level of support and intervention they received.

The service had a clearly defined management structure. The director and the senior management team had a clear vision for the service that was supported by well-defined values, with a focus on continuous improvement. However, there were gaps in the governance and oversight of significant aspects of the service. Improvements were required to ensure that all procedures were reviewed and updated. The quality of record keeping was poor and not all staff had up-to-date mandatory refresher training. There were staff vacancies which impacted on the service’s ability to meet the needs of the young people and staff supervision was not occurring in line with service policy. There had been no suspension of the rules in the 12 months prior to the inspection.

The management of child protection and welfare concerns was inadequate and mandatory reporting of incidents of this nature was not occurring as is required in all cases. The oversight and monitoring of child protection and welfare and or safeguarding concerns required significant improvement with respect to the maintenance of records, training, following up on mandatory reports and oversight and support for the designated liaison person on the campus.

The system in place which aimed to ensure safe and appropriate use of restrictive practices was not adequate. Procedures to guide staff on the use of restrictive practices including single separation and conducting searches, including in young people’s rooms or on their person, were not up to date, not consistently followed and there was no procedure regarding the use of physical intervention. Improvements were required to ensure that young people’s rights were protected at all times in the use of restrictive practices.

Read the report and action plan at the link below.