Tusla statement on HIQA inspection reports for four children’s residential centres in the South and Dublin North East regions
Tusla – Child and Family Agency acknowledges the publication of HIQA inspection reports on four children’s residential centres in the South and Dublin North East regions.
The inspection reports showed that children received good quality care, were aware of their rights and were consulted on decisions about their lives, and were supported in reaching their potential.
As part of the inspections, young people living at the centres were asked their views. Their overall comments in relation to living in the centres showed that:
- They had experienced good quality care, felt safe in the centres and enjoyed their interactions with staff team members.
- They said that they coped well during the lockdown phase of the Covid-19 pandemic and “just got on with it”.
- The young people were aware of Covid-19 and the related public health advice, and knew about the arrangements in place to maintain their safety.
The inspection reports also noted that good management systems were in place, that risks were well managed in the centre and clear guidance was provided to staff on how to manage risks associated with the Covid-19 pandemic. Communication between centre staff, social workers and families was good, and the centres supported young people to maintain contact with their families throughout the Covid-19 restrictions. Parents and social workers who spoke with inspectors were satisfied that the centres provided appropriate and safe care to the young people, and were kept informed of all incidents or significant events in a timely manner. Young people who were over the age of 17 were found to have good quality aftercare plans, and were supported to avail of work placements, volunteer activities, and courses that provided them with certification.
Speaking about the report, Donal McCormack, National Service Director, Residential Childcare Services, Tusla said:
“Covid-19 has presented many challenges within Ireland, and particularly for young people. We are pleased that these inspections found that the young people in these centres felt supported by staff and that this helped them to cope with the challenges posed by Covid-19, particularly during the initial stages of the pandemic.’
The inspections also highlighted areas where improvements could be made. While educational needs were outlined in care and placement plans, and staff endeavoured to support young people to attend school and participate in further education or training, a minority struggled with school attendance. Where required, a plan was put in place to explore alternative school settings or home tuition, and convene meetings to address any issues relating to non-attendance.
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. Improving the quality of that care set against high standards and regulation is a continuous process, and the positive findings in these reports are most welcome.