Tusla statement regarding HIQA foster care service inspection report for Waterford and Wexford
Tusla – Child and Family Agency notes the publication today of a HIQA inspection report in relation to foster care services in Waterford/Wexford, carried out in February 2020.
HIQA highlighted many positive aspects of the foster care system in Waterford/Wexford including:
- Children reported they were happy with their fosters carers and the foster care service they received, saying:
- ‘I'm well looked after. I have the best family ever’
- ‘They do everything in their power to make sure I'm happy’
- ‘They love me very much. I feel like part of the family’
- ‘This is my home. I like everything’
- ‘They respect me. They make me feel safe’
- 94% of foster children had an allocated social worker (375 of 401)
- Assessments of need were carried out on all children placed in foster care and were of good quality.
- Children who had complex needs and or a disability received specialist supports as required.
- There was good quality care planning, coordination of services and review of these children’s needs.
- The aftercare service provided a good quality service to children preparing to leave care.
- The majority of complaints, serious concerns, and allegations against foster carers were assessed in a timely manner and in line with the interim protocol for managing concerns and allegations against foster carers.
There were also a number of areas identified for improvement, some relating to a number of vacancies the area was carrying and the resulting impact on service delivery. Some of the initiatives that have been developed in the area to recruit staff include as giving presentations to college students and offering bursaries for students to undertake social work courses. Recruitment and retention of social workers is an ongoing challenge for Tusla nationally. Measures have also been put in place to improve the quality of record keeping, and the updating of voluntary consent documents.
Commenting on the report, Vincent Daly, Area Manager, Tusla Waterford/Wexford, said: “We are wholly committed to making the necessary improvements to make our fostering services even stronger. There are areas that we can improve on in Waterford and Wexford. For example, a comprehensive audit and service improvement plan has now been completed in relation to voluntary care admissions. We are implementing all the measures outlined in our remedial action plan, and will continue to do so over the next 12 months and beyond.
Foster care is a central element of our child protection system. Tusla is working to enhance our foster care system across the two counties to provide stable and safe environments for children and young people who can’t live at home, and to support families in the area who open their homes to vulnerable children.”
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, and spans a number of Tusla services including alternative care and child protection and welfare services. Many of these reports highlight the many positive examples of good practice, such as inspection reports in recent weeks on children’s residential centres. Others highlight areas where improvements are required, and we are aware that we have further work to do in a number of our care settings. Continuing to improve the quality of that care set against high standards and regulation is an ongoing process.