Public consultation to inform the Draft National Standards for Children’s Social Services

Status: Published on
Public consultation

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
  • responsiveness
  • accountability.

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. 

Children’s social services include:
•    child protection and welfare services 
•    alternative care services, which include foster care services,
     children’s residential centres and special care units.

Having undertaken extensive stakeholder engagement to date, including a scoping consultation to inform the development of the standards and focus groups, HIQA is now holding a public consultation from 10 March to 21 April 2021. The public consultation gives people the opportunity to provide feedback on the draft standards and become involved in the development process by submitting their views to us.

As these standards will apply to a wide range children’s social services, we welcome feedback from children and young people using services, their families, staff working with children and young people, advocates, and policy makers.

We will carefully assess all feedback received and use it, along with other available evidence, to develop the draft national standards.

The fastest way to complete this consultation is to complete the online questionnaire

Your comments can also be submitted by downloading the consultation feedback form below and then emailing your completed form to us at:

Alternatively, you can complete and post the completed form to us at:

Health Information and Quality Authority
Draft National Standards for Children's Social Services
Dublin Regional Office
George's Court, George's Lane
Smithfield, Dublin 7
D07 E98Y.

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

At the end of this public consultation, your comments will be collated and will inform the development of the draft national standards. HIQA will also be running focus groups to further inform the development of these standards.

The consultation feedback form is available online or in pdf format below.

HIQA has published an evidence review which summarises the national and international evidence on children’s social services, this ensures that the standards are evidence-based and fit for purpose in an Irish context. 

For further information or if you have any questions, you can email the Standards Team at or call 01 814 7400 and ask to speak to a member of the Standards Team.

  • Consultation feedback form

  • Draft principles