HIQA and the Mental Health Commission (MHC) are developing Draft Overarching National Standards for the Care and Support of Children using Health and Social Care Services. These standards will cover all health and social care services working with children including hospital services, disability services, mental health services, children’s social services, and GP and primary care services. These standards set out what outcomes a child should expect and what a service provider needs to do to achieve these outcomes.
By providing a common framework for all health and social care services working with children, the overarching standards aim to promote clarity, consistency and continuity within and between services to ensure that no matter what health or social care services a child is using, that there is a consistent and coordinated response to their needs and that services will work in an integrated way to improve the experience and outcomes of children using these services.
The draft national standards are underpinned by four principles. These four principles are:
- a children’s rights-based approach
- safety and wellbeing
It is envisioned that these overarching standards will also act as a framework for the development of more specific standards or guidance that describe in more detail how services can care for and support children in a particular context, if required in the future. For example, in parallel with the overarching standards, HIQA is also developing National Standards for Children’s Social Services to apply to foster care, special care units, children’s residential centres and child protection and welfare services, which will sit underneath and be aligned with these overarching standards.