Children's services publication statement 26 July 2022

Date of publication:

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 West, Kildare, West Wicklow 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 an inspection of the Dublin South West, Kildare, West Wicklow service area over three days in April 2022. This inspection assessed compliance with the national standards relating to the management of children who are at ongoing significant risk of harm and who are placed on Tusla’s Child Protection Notification System (CPNS). 

Of the six standards assessed, two were found to be compliant, three were substantially compliant, and one was not compliant.  

Overall, HIQA found that the service area had clear leadership, management structures and systems in place for overseeing the development and delivery of its child protection services. Audits were used to provide assurance of the quality and safety of services and to inform service improvements. However, social work procedures and practice for managing risk and ensuring the safety of children with complex needs and behaviours required further development. Some front-line social work teams were not fully staffed and this led to inconsistencies in the quality of child protection practice. This included inconsistency in the frequency of home visits, monitoring of children’s safety plans and ensuring records were kept up to date. 

Overall, arrangements for child protection conferences and oversight of children on the CPNS complied with Tusla’s policies and procedures, with meetings effectively planned and led by independent chairpersons. Efforts were made to engage with children’s parents and to hear their views at all stages of the child protection process. The multiagency and multidisciplinary sharing of information and joint-working arrangements was evident in the majority of cases reviewed throughout the inspection.  

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