Children’s services publication statement 6 October 2023

Date of publication:

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has today published an inspection report on the Child and Family Agency’s (Tusla’s) foster care services in the Mid West service area.

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 foster care services provided by Tusla and to report on its findings to the Minister, and to inspect services taking care of a child on behalf of Tusla, including non-statutory providers of foster care. HIQA monitors foster care services against the 2003 National Standards for Foster Care.

HIQA conducted an inspection of foster care services in the Mid West service area between 10 and 12 July 2023. The inspection looked at the promotion of children’s rights and identity, their diverse backgrounds and the support provided to help them maintain relationships with their family and friends. The inspection also considered the quality of their individual assessments of need, including any specialist support that they required. The inspection assessed how well children were matched with their foster carers, and the availability of a suitable range of local foster carers to provide good child-centred care.

Of the seven standards assessed, two were found to be not compliant, four were substantially compliant and one was compliant. The service area did not have a sufficient number of foster carers to meet demand in the area, and social workers were not always able to match children to foster carers who were best placed to meet their individual needs. Some foster carers were caring for higher numbers of children than they had been approved for. There were gaps in the availability of emergency placements and delays in finding suitable long-term placements for some children.

Inspectors found some improvements had been made since the previous inspection. All fostering social work posts had been filled for the first time since 2019, which was leading to better levels of support for foster carers. Inspectors found that assessments of children were timely, of good quality and provided a clear picture of the children’s needs.

The inspection report and compliance plan can be found at the link below.