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Overview of children’s care services exposes discrepancies in quality and experience

oday, the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) publishes an overview of its inspection and monitoring of children’s services during 2019. A total of 51 inspections were carried out.

Speaking on the key findings of the report, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, Tanya Ward said, “Children and young people are the best source of information when it comes to their experience and interaction with support and care services. These reports give us an insight into the quality of these services from the view of the individual they are designed and intended to support. It is great to hear that children engage with these reviews and many feel they are aware of their rights and are encouraged to use them. What is also evident from this overview is the pivotal role and significant impact key support workers play in the care of children. Young people described the positive impact aftercare workers had in their lives, supporting them with independent living skills and education. Similarly, children in foster care that were allocated a social worker reported positively about the quality of their experience with the service. However, given that there is inconsistency in the provision of these key workers, it is no surprise that many children have a vastly different experience.”

Key Findings

In Centre Based Care Services:

  • Children described how they were supported and listened to
  • Some children commented on the impact of changes to their social worker, which they found unsettling.
  • Young people described how aftercare workers supported them with independent living skills, housing, education and the significant positive impact this support had on their lives

In Child Protection and Welfare Services:

  • Risk-based inspections found that children and their families experienced variance in the quality and timeliness of the services they received, resulting in delays in screening, preliminary enquiries and initial assessments.
  • There are extensive demands across some service areas for children to receive initial assessments of their protection and welfare, with lengthy waiting lists in place in the areas where risk-based inspections were carried out.
  • The inspections found that there was no national approach being taken by Tusla to manage waiting lists for children and families awaiting a service from Tusla