In­spec­tion re­port leads to con­cerns for child wel­fare

Bray People - - NEWS - By DEB­O­RAH COLE­MAN

A RE­CENT HIQA in­spec­tion on a statu­tory fos­ter care ser­vice in Wicklow, Kil­dare West and Dublin South West found that of 26 ser­vice stan­dards, only ten stan­dards were met, 14 re­quired im­prove­ment and two were of sig­nif­i­cant con­cern, with child pro­tec­tion is­sues raised.

The ISPCC has ex­pressed con­cern over the re­port which high­lighed a num­ber of ar­eas of con­cern within the ser­vice which was in­spected last Oc­to­ber.

Ac­cord­ing to the doc­u­ment, not all chil­dren had an al­lo­cated so­cial worker and the sys­tems in place to en­sure un­al­lo­cated chil­dren re­ceived statu­tory vis­its was not suf­fi­cient.

It also out­lined that not all young peo­ple were re­ceiv­ing an af­ter­care ser­vice in line with Tusla pol­icy and rel­a­tive as­sess­ments were not com­pleted in a timely man­ner and that in­suf­fi­cient sup­ports were pro­vided to all fos­ter car­ers and sig­nif­i­cantly, re­views of fos­ter car­ers did not oc­cur rou­tinely.

Im­me­di­ate ac­tion was taken when nec­es­sary to pro­tect chil­dren but a num­ber of im­prove­ments were re­quired re­gard­ing mea­sures in place to safe­guard and pro­tect chil­dren from abuse and some child pro­tec­tion con­cerns were not as­sessed in a timely man­ner in line with Chil­dren First (2011): Na­tional Guid­ance for the Pro­tec­tion and Wel­fare of Chil­dren, and al­le­ga­tions of abuse were not al­ways man­aged in a timely man­ner.

The clas­si­fi­ca­tion of con­cerns about fos­ter car­ers into ei­ther an al­le­ga­tion or a com­plaint did not com­pre­hen­sively cap­ture child wel­fare con­cerns, the re­port stated, and it was not doc­u­mented that these wel­fare con­cerns were con­sis­tently no­ti­fied to the fos­ter care com­mit­tee.

‘ This HIQA in­spec­tion took place in Oc­to­ber 2016 and fol­lows a pat­tern of sim­i­lar in­spec­tions held in 2016, that these min­i­mum re­quired stan­dards are not be­ing met in a way that chil­dren ac­cess­ing these ser­vices have a right to ex­pect. In par­tic­u­lar, thehe is­sue of staffing is of an on­go­ing con­cern and con­sis­tently re­ferred to through­out in­spec­tion re­ports. We wel­come the fact that there are ref­er­ences to posts hav­ing be­ing ap­proved for fu­ture re­cruit­ment and it is ex­tremely im­por­tant that im­prove­ments that are promised are ev­i­dent in re­ports of this na­ture through­out 2017,’ said ISPCC chief ex­ec­u­tive Grainia Long.

‘We need to en­sure that these chil­dren are pro­tected to the best of the State’s abil­ity and as the re­port demon­states, im­prove­ments are re­quired in ser­vice pro­vi­sion, and there is a need to en­sure so­cial work ser­vices are fully re­sourced so that ev­ery child has an al­lo­cated so­cial worker and timely ac­cess to the sup­ports that they need,’ Ms Long added.

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