Under the Child Care (Placement Of Children In Residential Care) Regulations, 1995, Part 3, Article 17, the Monitoring Officer ensures compliance with Child Care Regulations 5 – 16 and reports under the following headings:
- Care practices and operational policies
- Access arrangements
- Health care
- Provision of food and cooking facilities
- Fire precautions
- Safety precautions
- Notification of significant events
The regulations state that the monitor is required to visit centres from ‘time to time’ (Part III, Article 17(b)).
National Standards for Children’s Residential Centres
The monitor also has additional functions under Standard 3 of the National Standards for Children’s Residential Centres. These functions are as follows:
- Standard 3.4. The authorised person meets with the young people and enquires about their general welfare and happiness.
- Standard 3.5. The authorised person sees that all children have an allocated social worker and that a care plan has been prepared and looks for evidence that decisions taken have been acted upon.
- Standard 3.6. The authorised person reads records of sanctions, physical restraint, complaints and unauthorised absences, and discusses any issues arising from these with the centre manager.
- Standard 3.7. All significant incidents will be routinely notified to the authorised person.
- Standard 3.8. The authorised person shall satisfy himself or herself that the centre is in compliance with all regulations and standards in respect of children’s residential centres.
The Monitoring Process
The aim of the monitoring process is to support best practice and the provision of the highest standards of care, and at all times to promote the rights and welfare of young people as paramount. The process of assessing standards of care in the centres is undertaken by gathering information through interviews and meetings with the centre management, staff members and young people, analyses of case files and centre records, and contact with guardians, social workers and other professionals deemed relevant by the monitoring officer.
When a monitoring visit generates a written report it will be circulated in draft form to the centre management and line management for discussion and clarification of issues arising. A final copy is then distributed to the relevant persons within the Child and Family Agency and to the appropriate inspection services.
Following notification of serious incidents, the monitoring officer may contact the centre to clarify information received and may also make recommendations for immediate change to ensure compliance to the regulations and adherence to Child and Family Agency policies and best child care practices.
The monitoring officer may, in cases of serious concerns about some aspect of the care offered by a centre, write a letter immediately following a monitoring visit highlighting these concerns to the centre’s manager and line manager, and seek clarification as to how presenting issues may be resolved in compliance with the regulations.