Children’s services publication statement 24 June 2021
The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has today published an inspection report on the child protection and welfare service operated by the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) in the Dublin South Central service area.
HIQA is authorised by the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth under Section 8(1)(c) of the Health Act 2007 to monitor the quality of services provided by Tusla to protect children and promote their welfare. HIQA monitors Tusla’s performance against the National Standards for the Protection and Welfare of Children and advises the Minister and Tusla.
HIQA conducted a risk-based inspection of the child protection and welfare service in Dublin South Central across five days between 8 and 15 February 2021. This inspection assessed six of the national standards relating to management of referrals, the assessment of child protection and welfare concerns and the ongoing intervention provided to children and families. Of the six standards assessed, one was substantially compliant and five were non-compliant moderate.
Overall, significant improvements in the governance and management of the service were found during the inspection. Quality assurance and risk management systems were used effectively to identify and manage issues. The quality of screening, preliminary enquiries, initial assessments and safety planning had significantly improved since previous inspections of the service. Immediate risk to children was responded to and there were good quality interventions for children and families who required further support following the initial assessment. Where the inspection identified non-compliance, these issues had already been identified and plans were in place to address this.
Substantial progress has been made within the area with regard to the management of cases awaiting allocation. However, there continued to be a waitlist for assessments which meant that children were not receiving a timely service. Although high-priority cases were well managed, the governance and management of medium and low priority cases required improvement. Improvements in the timeliness of preliminary enquiries and initial assessments were required, as delays meant the needs of some children were yet to be identified. The service identified that additional social work staff were required, to enable them to provide a full service to children and families, in line with Tusla’s policies and procedures.
The inspection report and compliance plan can be found at www.hiqa.ie.