HIQA foster care service follow-up inspection report for Cork
Tusla – Child and Family Agency acknowledges the publication today of the HIQA follow-up inspection report in relation to fostering services in Cork. The report highlights areas for improvement and Tusla is actively working to implement, as a priority, the comprehensive action plan that was submitted to HIQA following the initial inspection in February 2017.
Commenting on the report Dermot Halpin, Service Director, South, Tusla, said: “The follow-up report shows that incremental progress is being made in a number of key areas, including the assessment of relative foster carers and Garda vetting. This work takes time and we are committed to implementing the required actions as promptly as possible to improve the service for children, families and our foster carer community.”
Additional staff have been recruited to address priority actions identified, in particular: undertaking assessments of relative foster carers; carrying out safeguarding checks; securing Garda vetting; and providing link social work support to foster carers. An Area Governance Group has been established to focus on service review and improvement.
Other progress made to date includes:
- A Garda vetting update was sought following the February inspection for all carers and others living in foster care households. As of November 2017, a substantial number have been completed and the remainder are being actively progressed;
- A new tracking system is being developed to ensure that foster carers maintain up-to-date Garda vetting;
- Assessments are underway for 51 of 73 unapproved relative foster carers as of November 2017 with the remainder having been allocated a Link Social Worker;
- All approved foster carers have been allocated a Link Social Worker;
- A new Social Work Team Leader post has been assigned to prioritise foster care reviews and robust processes are being implemented to ensure the reviews are comprehensive and completed in line with regulations;
- The area is implementing the National Procedure for Managing Concerns and Allegations introduced in 2017;
- A formal system has been initiated to ensure the Foster Care Committee is notified of any complaint, concern or allegation.
Tusla is subject to consistent and high quality regulation and oversight. This is crucial to ensure that our practices deliver good quality, timely and appropriate interventions and services for children.
Service improvements are closely linked to Tusla’s transformation programme which will enhance many aspects of the Agency, including organisational culture, HR strategy, governance systems, and further corporate functions.
As part of the transformation programme, the Agency has developed a new Child Protection and Welfare Strategy which will assist in providing a proportionate, timely and appropriate response to children and families, sharing responsibility and control with families and communities through co-created solutions and an inter-agency approach.
This will involve implementing a national approach to practice, which is based on the principles of ‘Children First’. The national approach to practice is being rolled out across all of the Agency’s services, with every function in the Agency being aligned to support the approach.