Tusla - Ireland's Child & Family Agency

Tusla statement on HIQA inspection of Cork child protection and welfare services

Tusla – Child and Family Agency acknowledges today’s publication of a HIQA inspection report in relation to child protection and welfare services in the Cork Area.

The focus of this inspection was on children placed on the Child Protection Notification System (CPNS) and the governance arrangements in place to ensure effective and timely service delivery to these children. The CPNS records the names of children who are identified as being at ongoing risk of significant harm and for whom there is an ongoing child protection concern. The children listed on the CPNS have Child Protection Plans agreed at a Child Protection Conference. The CPNS can only be accessed by a very small group of people who might need to make important decisions about the safety of the child.

When a child is placed on the CPNS they have already been through an assessment, a case conference and significant social work intervention.  This HIQA inspection found that these child protection conferences were comprehensively facilitated, and children and their families were actively involved in the conferences. However, there were improvements required in relation to the oversight of parts of the system once a child is on the CPNS.   

Overall HIQA were concerned about certain aspects of the CPNS, such as supervision records, and they were also concerned about cases where young people with disabilities also had child protection needs.

In response to these areas, we have addressed and improved the technical parts of the system. We have changed supervision structures to improve the supervision, monitoring and governance in this area. Regular audits of cases on the CPNS have commenced, and an IT update is in place to automatically flag cases that are on the system for a particular period of time, or where follow up is required. The disability case referred to in the inspection has been provided for.

Commenting on the report Kieran Campbell, Acting Area Manager, Tusla Cork said

“From the outset we want to reassure the public that where a child is at immediate risk, they receive an immediate and protective response which was reflected throughout the report. It is also important to note that all cases were being actively worked and monitored by Tusla child protection staff, and that children on the CPNS have already been through an assessment, a case conference and significant social work intervention. 

Overall we are continuing to build on much of the good work in our services in Cork and clearly this report when first brought to us some months ago has helped us to make significant improvements to our system. This is good for children and our staff who respond to them.

We remain committed to improving the care and safeguarding of children in Cork and all other children in our care and are satisfied that the child protection practice in the area provides safe and effective care.”

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. 

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