Children’s services publication statement 31 January 2019

Date of publication:

Today, the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has published four inspection reports on children’s residential services. 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 three unannounced full inspections (centre ID numbers 4159, 4167, and 4180) and one unannounced follow-up inspection of residential services (centre ID number 4181) throughout the country. Inspectors found a varied level of service was being provided to these children, with some services adequately meeting children’s needs and other services requiring improvement to meet the standards.

Overall, inspectors found that children were safe and well looked after and had a good quality of life. Children had an allocated social worker. Children were well supported to maintain positive relationships with their families, friends and significant others. In two of the three full inspections, however, inspectors found that not all children had up-to-date care plans. This meant that the plan in place for the child may not have met the child’s current needs. 

The quality of preparation for leaving care and aftercare planning was found to be good in two of the three full inspections. Children were supported by staff to gain independence skills, and aftercare plans were in development. Young people were supported to complete their education and or transition to further education. However, there were delays in the provision of a suitable aftercare service to two young people in the other centre. 

At the time of the inspections, children were safe and there were appropriate safeguarding arrangements in place. However, in one of the centres, a delay in discharging a child had impacted on the safeguarding arrangements in place in the centre. 

Inspectors found that the bathrooms and one sitting room required refurbishment in one of the centres inspected. In addition, the follow-up inspection published today found that a significant amount of work had taken place to the interior of the premises, including a new kitchen, refurbished bedrooms and general painting since the last inspection of this centre in July 2018. Staff had also been provided with fire awareness training and there was an improvement in the frequency of fire drills.

Further improvements were required in the governance and management of the centres, including in relation to risk management, monitoring and oversight, staff supervision and training. 

Action plan responses were provided to address the non-compliances identified in the three full inspections, along with timelines for implementing these actions. In respect to the follow-up inspection, HIQA will use the action plan for the previous July 2018 inspection to monitor progress.