HIQA publishes overview of monitoring and inspecting children’s services in 2018
The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has published an overview report of inspection and regulation of children’s services in 2018.
The report provides insight into the quality and safety of services for children, including foster care, children’s residential centres, Oberstown Children Detention Campus and special care units. The report also reflects what children said to HIQA inspectors about their experience of these services.
HIQA’s Director of Regulation and Chief Inspector of Social Services, Mary Dunnion, said: “2018 was a huge milestone for our work in children’s services, as HIQA received new regulatory powers in children’s services when special care units became designated centres under the Health Act 2007. We also completed our first statutory investigation of children’s services with the Report of the investigation into the management of allegations of child sexual abuse against adults of concern by the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) upon the direction of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs in June 2018. This investigation outlined a number of key recommendations to Tusla and the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs to enhance the safety and quality of child protection services in Ireland.”
HIQA also conducted 65 inspections of children’s social services throughout 2018, with reports highlighting many improvements in children’s services. However, risks in children’s services remain due to staffing shortages, ineffective governance and management, and a lack of regulation.
Mary Dunnion continued: “An analysis of HIQA’s inspection and investigation findings show the critical importance of strong leadership and effective systems for governing and managing children’s services. Within the context and limitations of inadequate staffing, prioritisation of risk-based work is critical; but this was not always evident in services inspected in 2018. As a result, children and their families experience variance in the quality and timeliness of the services they receive.”
“Our experience over the past 10 years in the regulation of other health and social care services shows that regulation is a driver of quality and safety. There is, however, no regulation of child protection and welfare or foster care services in Ireland. This means that HIQA does not have the legal remit to take action when inspectors uncover examples of poor or unsafe service provision other than to escalate the situation to Tusla and to the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.”
“HIQA continues to work with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to plan for the transfer of the registration and inspection functions for non-statutory children’s residential centres from Tusla to the Chief Inspector in HIQA. The expansion of HIQA’s remit in regard to the formal regulation of all children’s residential centres, statutory and non-statutory, will further enhance the protections available to at-risk children and better equip us to take appropriate enforcement action against poorly-performing service providers.”
The Annual overview report on the inspection and regulation of children’s services – 2018 is available from the link below.
For further information please contact:
Marty Whelan, Head of Communications and Stakeholder Engagement
01 814 7480 / 086 244 7623 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editor:
- HIQA is responsible for regulating and monitoring the quality and safety of adult and children’s health and social care services across Ireland.
- During 2018, HIQA conducted 65 inspections of children’s services including:
- five inspections of four special care units,
- 38 inspections of statutory residential services,
- 13 of statutory foster care,
- seven of private foster care services,
- one inspection of Oberstown Children Detention Campus
- and one inspection of a child protection and welfare service.
- On 1 January 2018, special care units became designated centres under the Health Act 2007 (as amended), requiring HIQA to determine if they were fit for registration by year end. Three special care units were registered by November 2018, and one closed down during 2018.
- HIQA will be publishing overview reports of 2018 activity in healthcare services, and services for older people and people with disabilities in the coming weeks.