Children’s services publication statement 25 June 2020

Date of publication:

Today, the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has published eight inspection reports on children’s residential centres.

HIQA monitors services used by some of the most vulnerable children in the state against the National Standards for Children’s Residential Centres to provide assurance to the public that children are receiving a service that meets the requirements of quality standards, and to provide advice to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs and the Child and Family Agency (Tusla).

These reports refer to eight unannounced full inspections of children’s residential centres (centre ID numbers 4170, 4163, 4172, 4166, 4159, 4187, 5764 and 4165) throughout the country. Three of these inspections took place in November 2019 (centre ID numbers 4164, 4172 and 5764) and the remaining five in December 2019 (centre ID numbers 4170, 4166, 4159, 4187 and 4165). Inspectors found that, although the majority of these services met the needs of the children placed with them, there was some variance in practice and aspects of service provision which required improvement.

Overall, children were safe and well cared for in these services, and there were good systems in place to report and manage risk to children. Children who spoke to inspectors said mostly positive things about the centres they lived in. They liked the staff members and had appropriate people to confide in. They were happy that they were listened to and that their rights were being promoted. Some children, however, were not happy with the number of agency staff being used in one centre and in another, the children faced challenges when their peers had complex needs. A minority of children said they felt lonely at times, or that they did not get on with some of the other children they shared a placement with, and inspectors found that the staff teams in these centres worked at improving the experiences for these children.

The majority of children had an up-to-date care plan and it was apparent that there was a multidisciplinary approach to ensuring their needs were met. However, care plans were not up to date for all, and this meant that their current and changing needs were not identified with a risk that these needs would go unmet for some time. There was also a need to ensure a consistent and timely approach to allocating aftercare workers to young people on the brink of leaving the care system.

While there were noted improvements in relation to governance and management of these centres, each centre had improvements to make. Some of the common issues arising related to infrequent staff supervision, out of date national policies and procedures for residential centres, inadequate risk management systems and or monitoring and oversight of aspects of practice. Sustainable formal on-call arrangements for the management of centres outside of business hours remained unresolved across all centres.

All of the services have provided action plan responses to address the non-compliances identified on inspection with timelines for implementing these actions.