Children’s services publication statement 6 July 2020
The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has today published two thematic inspection reports on the Child Protection and Welfare Service operated by the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) in the Cavan Monaghan and Kerry service areas. Thematic inspection programmes aim to promote quality improvement in a specific area of a service and to improve the quality of life of children and families receiving the services. These themed inspections aimed to assess compliance with the national standards relating to managing referrals from receipt to the point of completing an initial assessment.
HIQA is authorised by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs 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 the performance of Tusla against the National Standards for the Protection and Welfare of Children and advises the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs and Tusla.
HIQA conducted a thematic inspection of the child protection and welfare service in Cavan Monaghan from 11 to 14 November 2019. Of the seven standards assessed, one was found to be compliant, one was substantially compliant, four were partially compliant and one was non-compliant.
HIQA conducted a thematic inspection of the child protection and welfare service in Kerry from 25 to 28 November 2019. Of the seven standards assessed, two were found to be substantially compliant, four were partially compliant and one was non-compliant.
Overall, HIQA found that the child protection and welfare service in Kerry needed to improve and strengthen their governance arrangements in order to provide a timely and consistent service to children in Kerry. The area management team had appropriately identified that the functioning and operations of the intake team required improvement. Some measures had been implemented since July 2019 which improved the timeliness of the screening of new referrals.
At the time of the inspection, the child protection and welfare service in Cavan Monaghan, had achieved a significant reduction in the waitlist for initial assessments over the previous 10 months. While this should have a positive impact on the experience of children and their families, some delays remained in the completion of screening and preliminary enquiries, and initial assessments.
Children who were at immediate risk or who required an immediate response received this in both Cavan Monaghan and Kerry. Staff were generally good at consulting with and listening to children when assessing their needs and in establishing if a child was at risk in both service areas. In Cavan Monaghan, staff had also been innovative in supporting families from different cultural backgrounds.
Improvements were required in both service areas in the safe recruitment practices, as there were gaps in the information held on staff recruitment files. Further improvements were required in both service areas in risk management, safety planning for children and notification of suspected abuse to An Garda Síochána. Quality assurance mechanisms also required further development to ensure the continuous improvement of the service.
Read the reports on www.hiqa.ie.