Tusla statement on publication of HIQA inspection reports
Tusla – Child and Family Agency notes the publication today of two HIQA inspection reports in relation to fostering services in the Dublin North and Sligo / Leitrim / West Cavan areas. Commenting on the reports’ findings, Patricia Finlay, Service Director, Tusla, said “HIQA inspections are an important measurement and oversight tool for us in Tusla. These inspection reports demonstrate that children and foster carers in these areas are supported and safeguarded by social workers.
“The Dublin North inspection report identifies a service where children and carers have access to a range of specialist services and supports to meet their needs. All children in foster care and all foster carers in Sligo / Leitrim / West Cavan are supported by allocated social workers. In addition, the inspection report identifies that where necessary staff in the area took immediate actions to ensure children were safe.
“The inspections also identified areas for improvement within the services. Tusla remains committed to improving our compliance with the national standards for foster care and in conjunction with HIQA we have created and begun to implement action plans in response to the two reports.”
Tusla is putting the following measures in place to improve the services and standards in Dublin North and Sligo / Leitrim / West Cavan in a timely and measurable way:
- All individuals whose Garda vetting needs to be renewed have been identified and Tusla is in the process of securing this updated vetting;
- All foster carers now have an allocated link social worker and have been visited in the last six months;
- Six relative foster care assessments which had been delayed will be presented to the Foster Care Committee for consideration by September;
- The fostering principal social worker has assumed overall responsibility for the management of relative care assessments, including tracking the time duration of assessments;
- A schedule has been put in place to review all foster carers who have not had a foster carer review in over three years. This will be monitored by the Area Manager on an ongoing basis and completed by May 2018;
- Four Children First training sessions are scheduled to take place in September for foster carers. Foster carers who cannot attend any of these training sessions will receive one-to-one training from their link social worker by the end of November;
- A fostering recruitment strategy is being developed and will include an action plan.
Sligo / Leitrim / West Cavan
- The area has created a Quality, Risk and Service Improvement Forum, chaired by the Area Manager. This will oversee all investigations into allegations against foster carers to ensure compliance with Children First;
- Garda vetting has been completed for two foster carers who did not have evidence of appropriate Garda vetting on file. Tusla has begun renewing Garda vetting for foster carers whose vetting had not been updated in the past three years;
- Two additional staff have been allocated to the fostering team to allow more frequent home visits and more timely assessments;
- Prior to the HIQA inspection, Tusla put a schedule in place for foster carer reviews in 2017;
- Tusla will review case recording on foster carer files and the quality of case recording will also be audited through supervision;
- The area is developing a formal retention strategy for foster carers;
- Tusla has developed a National Child Care Information System (NCCIS) which will ensure that every social work department in Ireland has a robust, secure information system to support the delivery of effective child protection and welfare services. NCCIS will be fully operational by the end of next year.