Children’s services publication statement 29 August 2023

Date of publication:

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has today published two reports on children’s residential centres operated by the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) in the Dublin North East region.

HIQA is authorised by the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth 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 Tusla. HIQA monitors Tusla’s performance against the National Standards for Children’s Residential Centres and advises the Minister and Tusla.

Each inspection was conducted over a two-day period in June, with one being unannounced and the other a short-notice announced inspection. The inspections focused on assessing the quality of the service provided in these centres and examining compliance with the national standards. Additionally, they focused on the care and support that young people received and how their rights were promoted and realised. In one centre, the inspection found that, of the eight standards assessed, four were compliant, three were substantially compliant and one was not compliant. In the other centre, all standards assessed were found to be compliant.

The first centre had experienced significant recent changes in the management team and, as a result, improvements were required to ensure more effective oversight and monitoring of the service. There were appropriate processes in place to monitor and evaluate the safety and quality of care provided in order to achieve better outcomes for the young people. Staff worked collaboratively with relevant professionals and had developed supportive relationships with the young people to ensure their care needs were addressed and promoted positive outcomes for young people.

Inspectors also found that improvements were required in the use of restrictive practices, such as the monitoring of the young people’s movements, and in ensuring that these practices were proportionate to the identified risks for all young people. Additionally, it was important that concerns in relation to young people’s safety and wellbeing were appropriately reported.

Following the inspection, management submitted a satisfactory compliance plan to address the relevant standards that were deemed substantially compliant or non-compliant.

In the second centre inspectors assessed eight of the national standards, of which all were assessed as compliant. Respite services delivered to children were found to be of a high standard, child centred and actively promoted children’s rights. Programmes of care offered to children were responsive to their age and understanding and reflected children’s individual and diverse needs. The safety and protection of children was prioritised alongside the provision of tailored support to meet each child’s individual needs. Care practices promoted open communication and building trusting relationships with children, parents and foster carers. Children reported high satisfaction levels with the service and that significant efforts were made to promote their engagement and give them a voice in shaping the service they received.

Good governance arrangements and clear systems were in place that provided for safe and effective care. Management roles and accountabilities were clear and there was good oversight of care delivery. Managers and staff were suitably skilled and experienced. Staff, at all levels, clearly understood their roles and responsibilities for keeping children safe and promoted child-centred and individualised care that recognised children’s rights and diversity.

The inspection reports can be found at the link below.