Children’s services publication statement 25 February 2021
The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has today published a risk-based inspection report on the child protection and welfare service operated by the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) in the Cork 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 for Children and Tusla.
This report relates to a follow-up inspection completed over three days in November 2020. Of the five standards assessed, three were identified as substantially compliant with the remaining standards found to be compliant.
This follow-up inspection looked at the progress made by the Tusla Cork service area on the actions outlined in the compliance plan, and whether those actions had a positive impact on the service provided to children on the Child Protection Notification System (CPNS).
In January 2020, HIQA conducted a risk-based inspection of the CPNS in the Cork service area which found the service delivered to children on the CPNS was poor quality. Children on the CPNS are those who are assessed as being at most risk within a child protection service, therefore services should have strong checks and balances in place to safeguard these children. This follow-up inspection of the CPNS found significant improvement in the service provided to children who were subject to a child protection safety plan and the aligned governance arrangements.
Inspectors found better governance arrangements and a corresponding improvement in the consistency of the social work service. Governance measures put in place since the last inspection included a complex case forum, better quality case supervision and auditing of cases. This provided additional assurance that children on the CPNS received a more consistent service.
Overall, inspectors found that children on the CPNS were in receipt of a better service since January 2020. Improvements were found in the implementation and monitoring of child protection safety plans by the social work teams, in the frequency and quality of social work visits and in safety planning for children on the CPNS. Inspectors found these improvements had positive impacts for children on the CPNS.
The inspection report and compliance plan can be found on www.hiqa.ie.