Children’s services publication statement 7 September 2020
Monday, 07 September, 2020
The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has today published four inspection reports on children’s residential centres.
HIQA is authorised by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs under Section 69 of the Child Care Act, 1991 as amended by Section 26 of the Child Care (Amendment) Act 2011, to inspect children’s residential care services provided by the Child and Family Agency (Tusla). HIQA monitors Tusla’s performance against the National Standards for Children’s Residential Centres and reports on its findings to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.
Unannounced inspections of four statutory children’s residential centres were carried out between 6 and 16 July 2020, across two Tusla regions (South and Dublin North East). The findings of these inspections were generally positive and there was a good level of compliance with the National Standards for Children’s Residential Centres.
The majority of children who talked with inspectors were happy in their placement and got on well with members of the staff team in their respective placements. These children had mutual experiences of being well cared for and their health, wellbeing and emotional needs were being met. The children told inspectors that their rights were being promoted and that they felt safe in their placements. Each child was satisfied that they had good contact with their family, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, when alternatives to family visits were put in place.
All children placed in these four centres had an allocated social worker, who maintained good contact with them, despite the limitations imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The majority of children had an up-to-date care plan and it was evident that the centres were implementing these plans in collaboration with social workers. There was a good rationale for delays in updating care plans in a minority of cases.
The centres inspected were generally well managed and staffing resources were adequate. Risks, including those related to the COVID-19 pandemic, were managed and contingencies were put in place in the event of an outbreak. Each centre worked on an inter-agency and inter-disciplinary level and this meant that children’s needs were being consistently met.
While the majority of children were engaged in formal education, a minority struggled with school attendance and in sustaining a full-time placement. Where required, this was brought to the centre manager to address.
Several young people placed in these centres were approaching their time to leave care. These inspections found that planning for their aftercare and preparing these young people for adulthood was well managed.
The inspection reports and compliance plans can be found on www.hiqa.ie