HIQA is developing Draft National Standards for Children’s Social Services that will cover all welfare and protection services for children. These standards set out what outcomes a child should expect and what a service needs to do to achieve these outcomes. They provide a common language to describe what high-quality, safe and consistent children’s social services look like.
Having one set of national standards for all welfare and protection services for children will ensure that the interests of the child are put first, and will promote a consistent and child-centred approach to service delivery. The standards also aim to ensure that, no matter how children come into contact with children’s social services, that there is a consistent response and that children do not experience any gaps in their care and support.
The draft national standards are underpinned by four principles, which can be used by all services caring for and supporting children who are at risk or are in the care of the State. These four principles are:
- a human rights-based approach
- safety and wellbeing
Existing National Standards apply to individual service settings such as child protection and welfare services, foster care, special care units and children’s residential centres. Once approved by the Minister for Health, in consultation with the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, the new National Standards for Children’s Social Services will replace existing National Standards for children’s services in order to support children throughout their interaction with the services that may be required to assist them.