Children’s services publication statement 28 January 2020
The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has today published an inspection report on a children’s residential centre.
HIQA is authorised by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs under Section 69 of the Child Care Act, 1991 as amended by Section 26 of the Child Care (Amendment) Act 2011, to inspect children’s residential care services provided by the Child and Family Agency (Tusla). HIQA monitors Tusla’s performance against the National Standards for Children’s Residential Centres and reports on its findings to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.
An unannounced inspection to a centre located in the Dublin Mid-Leinster region on 26–27 September 2019 found that the centre was a warm and comfortable environment for children. Children were encouraged to participate in decisions about their care, and they said that they could talk freely to the staff team. The children living in the centre at the time of inspection said that they felt safe there most of the time; however, they told inspectors that they did not always feel safe when incidents occurred. While there were processes in place to ensure the mix of children in the centre was safe, this did not always work effectively, and the mix in the centre earlier in the year had placed some children at risk of peer–to-peer abuse. This was resolved at the time of the inspection.
All of the children had an allocated social worker who visited them; however, child in care reviews were not timely for all children.
There was a stable staff team in this centre who showed commitment to the children they cared for. There were no staff vacancies. Although there were some adequate managerial systems in place, they needed to improve to ensure a consistently safe and effective service was being delivered. For example, the centre was not resourced adequately to ensure children could be safely held when this was necessary. There were systems in place to manage risk; however, they needed to improve to ensure all risks were identified and managed. While there was also an improved system for auditing practice, there were non-compliances which had not been picked up on through practice audits. Furthermore, restrictive practices were in place at the time of inspection which were not known to line managers, and they ceased following the inspection fieldwork.
An action plan response was provided to address the non-compliances identified in this inspection, along with timelines for implementing these actions.