HIQA wants to hear from the public to improve quality of care and support for children

Date of publication:

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) is holding a consultation to inform the development of new Draft National Standards for Children’s Social Services. These standards set out what outcomes a child should expect and what a service needs to do to achieve these outcomes. The Draft National Standards articulate what safe and high quality services should look like. Based on recommendations from the 2018 HIQA investigation into the management of information in Tusla services, HIQA began developing Draft National Standards for Children’s Social Services that cover all children’s social services from a child’s referral to a service, until they move to another service or leave children’s social services. 

Rachel Flynn, Director of Health Information and Standards said: “HIQA is holding a six-week public consultation and welcomes feedback from children, young people, families, advocates and staff with experience of children’s social services on the draft standards. This feedback will help to ensure that these standards are meaningful to children and improve their experiences of children’s social services”. 

The standards are underpinned by four principles (a human rights-based approach, safety and wellbeing, responsiveness and accountability) which aim to provide a common language for staff across services and will be used consistently across all national standards. 

Ms Flynn added: “The Draft National Standards that have been published today have been informed by extensive engagement with over 280 children and young people, families, staff, and advocates with experience of children’s social services. The children and young people that we met suggested that HIQA write the standards with this question in mind: What would you want for your child or a child you care about?”

The standards promote evidence-based practice which is up-to-date, effective and consistent, while also creating a basis for services to measure the quality and safety of their performance. At the end of this consultation, comments will be collated and used to help inform the development of the Draft National Standards for Children’s Social Services.

You can provide feedback on the standards by completing an online questionnaire or downloading the feedback form on hiqa.ie and emailing it to standards@hiqa.ie.

 The deadline for receipt of submissions is 5pm on Wednesday, 21 April 2021.

For further information please contact:

Marty Whelan, Head of Communications and Stakeholder Engagement 01 814 7480 / 085 805 5202 / mwhelan@hiqa.ie
For further information on the consultation, please contact the consultation team at standards@hiqa.ie or call 01 814 7400 and ask to speak to a member of the Standards Team.

Notes to the editor:
•    These draft national standards include services such as child protection and welfare services, foster care, special care units, and children’s residential centres. 

•    Informing these standards is a detailed evidence review, published on the HIQA website, and extensive engagement with a wide range of stakeholders.

•    A further series of focus groups is planned with children and families, as well as staff involved in the delivery of children’s social services to hear their experiences and gather their views.

•    Regular advisory group meetings are taking place with young people, advocates, service delivery bodies and policymakers within children’s social services.

•    HIQA is also developing Overarching National Standards for the Care and Support of Children using Health and Social Care Services. The National Standards for Children’s Social Services will be aligned to the Overarching National Standards. These two sets of standards will be consistent and complementary and together will ensure that all services involved in the care and support of children work together to provide coordinated, high-quality care and support to children at risk or in the care of the State.