Children’s services publication statement 18 December 2019

Children’s services publication statement 18 December 2019

Children’s services publication statement 18 December 2019

Date of publication:

Wednesday, 18 December, 2019

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has today published two inspection reports on children’s residential centres.

HIQA monitors services used by some of the most vulnerable children in the state against the National Standards for Children’s Residential Centres to provide assurance to the public that children are receiving a service that meets the requirements of quality standards and to provide advice to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs and the Child and Family Agency (Tusla).

An unannounced inspection carried out in a centre in Tusla’s South region on 4–5 September 2019 found that children received good quality safe care in this centre. Children talked about staff in a positive manner and spoke about how the staff team cared for them. Children were supported to maintain contact with their families. There were systems in place to consult with children so that they could contribute to decisions made within the centre. Children’s care records were well maintained.

Staff provided safe and effective care to children, and appropriate measures were in place to promote their safety. There was regular consultation with social workers and external agencies in relation to the children’s care. Aftercare referrals and plans were in place where necessary, and the collaborative work between the centre staff and social workers was evident in care plans, placement plans and placement support plans. 

There were good systems in place which ensured accountability for practice, and risk was well managed. However, the risk register did not fully reflect risks in the centre and did not identify potential risks associated with the suitability of the centre to provide residential care to children in its current location or premises. While the centre had undergone significant refurbishment of its interior to make it more homely, the design and location of the building was not suitable for the provision of mainstream residential care to children. 

Leadership was shown in the centre with regard to challenging previous practices, and, while there were some improvements, stronger leadership was required in relation to the on-going use of some restrictive practices and to ensure that the quality assurance systems in place were effective. Furthermore, centre practices were not supported by up-to-date policies and procedures for children’s residential centres. 

An unannounced inspection of a centre in the Dublin North East region on 9–10 October 2019 found that children were well cared for and supported. Children told inspectors that they felt safe living there. They were provided with opportunities to express their views on plans made about them and on the everyday running of the centre. The rights of children in care were promoted by the staff team and children were aware of these rights. There was a strong ethos within the centre that emphasised building and maintaining positive relationships between children, which was obvious to inspectors during the visit to the centre.

Each child had an allocated social worker, and children’s care plans and child in care reviews were up to date. Children and their families were consulted in planning processes.

The centre was well managed with a strong culture of transparency and openness. Managerial systems in place ensured the care delivered was of good quality and that learning opportunities were not missed. However, there was a need to formalise the arrangements in place to provide on-call support from a manager for the staff team out of office hours. 

Action plan responses were provided to address the non-compliances identified in these inspections, along with timelines for implementing these actions.
 

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