Children’s services publication statement 9 September 2021

Date of publication:

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has today published a report on Crannog Nua Special Care Unit. Special care units are secure residential units for children aged 11 years to 17 years. Children are placed in a special care unit by a court when their behaviour poses a risk of harm to their life, health, safety, development or welfare, and the placement is needed for the child’s care 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. 

This announced inspection was carried out between 21 and 22 June 2021. The aim of this inspection was to assess ongoing compliance with the regulations and to gain further information in relation to the centre's application for renewal of registration. 

Overall, inspectors found that children living in the centre were well cared for. Their individual needs and complexities were identified and respected, and their rights were promoted. Parents and relevant professionals were encouraged to participate in decisions about children and their opinions were respected. 

Governance of the centre was good, and there were effective systems in place which ensured children received safe and consistent care, that was child centred and appropriate to their individual needs. There was strong leadership of the centre and lines of accountability and responsibility were clear. Reporting procedures were well established and information and records were routinely reviewed to ensure good quality reports and monitoring of practice. The management structure promoted a learning environment where challenges were explored and achievements were shared to inform learning for all staff. There were adequate arrangements in place for the identification, management and ongoing review of risk.

The accommodation was adequate and suitable to meet the needs of children, however, some children’s needs were complex and stretched the capacity of the team. This meant that the centre was not operating at full bed capacity. While, generally, children benefitted from their time in the centre, delays in finding onward placements for some children lessened the positive impact of their time there, and resulted in placements which were longer than anticipated.  

Children were well cared for in the centre. Their safety, wellbeing and overall development was at the core of decisions about their care. All child protection concerns were reported in a timely manner, however, they were not reported by mandated persons who received the concern, as required by legislation.