Tusla - Ireland's Child & Family Agency

Tusla statement re HIQA child protection and welfare service inspection reports for Donegal, Dublin South East/Wicklow and Galway/Roscommon areas

Tusla-Child and Family Agency notes the publication today of the HIQA inspection reports in relation to child protection and welfare services in the Donegal, Dublin South East/Wicklow and Galway/Roscommon areas.

The inspection report for Donegal highlighted many positive aspects of the child protection and welfare service in the county including:

  • The area manager and the management team provided strong leadership to the service.
  • Children were listened to and their voices were reflected in assessments.
  • Social workers took immediate action when this was required to ensure that children were safe.
  • The area had systematically reduced the cases awaiting allocation from over 800 in 2017 to 65 as at March 2020.
  • Good practice was evident in the safety plans reviewed by inspectors

The HIQA inspection also identified areas for improvement, including further progress in ensuring the consistent monitoring and review of safety plans for children. Work is underway to address these areas and make the improvements required.

Commenting on the report, Gerry Hone, Area Manager, Donegal said: “We are pleased that the area was found by the inspectors to have high levels of compliance with the standards assessed.  We are wholly committed to making our child protection and welfare services even stronger, and indeed this inspection highlighted that there was a sense that the service area is making continuous progress. We will continue to make further improvements in the months ahead to ensure that children and families in Donegal continue to receive timely and effective services.”

In the Dublin South East/Wicklow area inspectors found that children were protected through good practice relating to the screening, preliminary enquiry and initial assessment processes. In addition, a child-centred, open and transparent approach was taken to encourage the child and family’s engagement with the service.

The area developed a new child friendly website changingfutures.ie to help young people better understand the work Tusla does. This local area initiative was later adopted by Tusla on a national basis as the ‘Changing Futures’ project.

Joanne Cullen, Area Manager, Dublin South East/Wicklow said: “We are pleased that the area was found by the inspectors to have high levels of compliance with the standards assessed. In particular, we are pleased that the inspection highlighted the child-centred, open and transparent approach which is taken in the area to encourage the child and family’s engagement with the service.

In Galway/Roscommon, many positive aspects of the child protection and welfare service were highlighted including:

  • Social workers were commended by children for their support to them:
    •  “Everything has changed since I have my social worker” and “ things are so much better now”.
    •  The social workers…“ asked us what we thought” and “made things better”.
    • One child said her social worker was “amazing” and “made us very happy”.
  • The area promoted a child-centred approach through the use of clear, open and honest communication with children and families.
  • The area delivered safe and effective service delivery within a child-centred and learning culture.
  • The area has developed a comprehensive quality improvement plan which promotes a better quality and more timely service for children and their families.
  • Staff were supported to develop their practice through group supervision and training to ensure they had the appropriate skill set to deliver a good quality child protection and welfare services.

Commenting on the report, Declan Quinn, Acting Area Manager, Tusla Galway and Roscommon said: “We welcome the acknowledgment that the area has made significant headway in implementing a range of measures to reform child protection and welfare services. We are committed to the safety of children in Galway and Roscommon and are satisfied that the child protection practice in the area provides safe and effective care.”

“HIQA also identified areas for improvement, including further progress in ensuring the consistent monitoring and review of safety plans for children, recruitment practises, and timely notifications to An Garda Síochana. Prior to this inspection, some of the improvements identified within this report have already been addressed through existing governance functions, and work is underway to complete the remaining improvements.”

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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