Children’s services publication statement 6 March 2020

Date of publication:

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has today published a report on Crannóg Nua Special Care Unit. Special care units are secure residential units for children whose behaviour places them at risk. They are placed in special care by the High Court for their own safety and protection.  

HIQA inspects against the Health Act 2007 (Care and Welfare of Children in Special Care units) Regulations 2017 and the National Standards for Special Care Units, which apply to special care units in Ireland. 

An unannounced risk-based inspection of Crannóg Nua Special Unit took place on 6 December 2019. This was in response to information received by HIQA that a new admission had resulted in the need to accommodate a fifth child in a four-bed residential unit. As a result, a fifth bedroom was created by turning a safe room into a bedroom.   

This inspection found that the provider, the Child and Family Agency (Tusla), was in breach of one condition of the special care unit’s registration as the Chief Inspector was not informed of the changes to this designated centre’s statement of purpose and function prior to the changes being made. 

However, the inspection found that the increase in numbers of children in the unit did not impact negatively on the children placed there. The unit continued to have adequate space and staffing resources to provide care to this number of children. 

The inspection also found that a consultancy room had been turned into a safe room that was not up to the same standard as the former safe room. For example, it was not fitted with an adequate viewing panel to enable children to be appropriately and safely supervised by staff while in the room. When children required containment in the safe room, alternative methods were not clearly identified in children’s placement plans and instructions were not clearly communicated to staff. 

Furthermore, the inspection found that the systems in place were not effective in the identification, assessment, management and review of the risks posed by the reconstitution of a consultation room as a safe room. An urgent compliance plan was issued to the provider seeking assurances in relation to the management of this risk, and a satisfactory response was received.  

A compliance plan was provided to address the non-compliances identified in this inspection, along with timelines for implementing the actions