Tusla - Ireland's Child & Family Agency

Tusla statement re: HIQA foster care service inspection report for Dublin South Central

Report notes significant improvements in this service area

Tusla-Child and Family Agency notes the publication today of the HIQA inspection report in relation to foster care services in the Dublin South Central area undertaken in October 2020.

Of six standards assessed by HIQA, two were compliant and four were substantially compliant. As part of the inspection, inspectors spoke to children in care, parents of children in care, and foster carers, as well as Tusla staff.

This inspection report acknowledged many positive aspects of the foster care service in Dublin South Central, including:

  • Children reported they were happy with the foster care service they received, saying about their carers:
    • “They're kind and I feel safe. They listen to me. They make sure I get to see my family”.
    • “What I love - my foster family that are caring, loving, funny, and always there for me. They make me feel safe, loved”.  
    • “I like that they respect me and treat like their own, I like that every time I feel sad or angry I always have someone to talk to”.
  • Children who spoke with inspectors all reported they had a good relationship with their social worker, and young adults were happy with the aftercare service provided.
  • There were examples of good practice initiatives in the area, particularly in relation to increasing the participation of children.
  • There was an effective system in place to manage the unallocated cases of children in care to ensure they received statutory visits by a social worker and had up-to-date care plans.
  • Assessments of need were carried out on all children placed in foster care and the majority of the assessments were of good quality.
  • Children who had complex needs and disabilities were adequately supported.
  • There was an effective system to support children and foster carers when a placement was at risk.
  • Allegations and serious concerns against foster carers and child protection and welfare concerns were categorised correctly and the risks were managed.

On the impact of Covid-19, inspectors found that:

  • All children whose files were reviewed had regular contact from their social workers including home visits and telephone contact during the Covid-19 restrictions.
  • Social workers maintained links with the children’s families. Contact was impacted due to the restrictions of Covid 19, but inspectors found that efforts were made to ensure there were alternative forms of contact for the children including video calls and visits in gardens.

The inspection also found areas where improvements were required including the matching of carers with children and young people. There was a significant shortage of foster carers, which had a direct impact on the areas ability to match children with local foster carers. Local measures including media campaigns and strategies for recruiting more foster carers were active to address this.

Commenting on the report, Des Delaney, Area Manager, Dublin South Central, said: “We are pleased that the area was found to have good levels of compliance with the standards assessed and that good practice was observed. This inspection report highlights ongoing progress in this area. We are particularly pleased that children and young people were overall happy with the service they received, and that their voices were central to this inspection.

Recruitment of foster carers is an ongoing challenge, and we will continue to make efforts on this front to ensure that we can find appropriate placements for children and young people in the area. We would encourage anyone who is interested in finding out more about fostering to get in touch.”

Tusla receives consistent and high quality regulation and oversight by various external bodies, including HIQA. This oversight assists us in ensuring that our practices deliver good quality, timely and appropriate interventions and services for children.

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