Children’s services publication statement 8 January 2021

Date of publication:

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has today published a thematic inspection report on the child protection and welfare service operated by the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) in the Dublin North City service area. 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.

HIQA is authorised by the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth 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, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth and Tusla.

HIQA conducted a thematic inspection of the child protection and welfare service in Dublin North City over four days in September 2020. This inspection aimed to assess compliance with the national standards relating to managing referrals from receipt to the point of completing an initial assessment.

Of the seven standards assessed, one was found to be compliant, one was substantially compliant and five were partially compliant. The inspection found there was a high number of vacant posts in the area which impacted on service delivery to children and families. 

The Dublin North City service area’s management team was committed to providing a safe, responsive and child-centred service to children and their families. Families who spoke with inspectors were positive of the service they received. Where children were identified as being at immediate risk or required immediate action, timely and appropriate actions were taken to ensure they were safe and protected.  

Overall, initial assessments were of good quality. Children were listened to and their voices were reflected in initial assessments. However, there were delays in commencing and completing them within Tusla’s own timeframes. 

Improvements were required in the timely completion of preliminary enquiries, safety planning for children, in staff supervision and in the monitoring and oversight of the use of recording systems.

The report can be found on