HIQA finds major non-compliance with some aspects of Kerry foster care

The report highlighted three issues, including garda vetting

HIQA finds major non-compliance with some aspects of Kerry foster care

File photo | Image: RollingNews.ie

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has published two inspection reports on foster care services in Galway/Roscommon and Kerry.

They are operated by the Child and Family Agency, Tusla.

In Kerry, three of the eight standards were found to be compliant, and one was substantially compliant.

Assessments of general foster carers were of good quality and the support provided to foster carers was good.

There was also positive practice in this area also in regard to training provided to foster carers.

However, four standards were found to be non-compliant, three of which were major non-compliances.

The report found garda vetting was not sought for the children of foster carers when they reached the age of 16, and there were a number of young adults in foster care households that had not been garda vetted.

While the foster care committee was not notified of allegations against foster carers in a timely way.

Another area of major non-compliance was preliminary checks not being completed in all cases where children were placed with relative foster carers.

"There was a lack of managerial oversight of relative care placements and the foster care committee was not informed of these placements.

"There were long delays in the assessment of relative foster carers and they were not carried out in a timely manner.

"There was a delay in presenting the case of a foster carer, who transferred into the service, to the foster care committee".

It also found there was no system in place to ensure that reviews of foster carers were carried out in line with the standards.

"Fifty foster carers had not had a foster carer review for more than three years.

"Foster carers did not receive a copy of their review report when it was completed. The quality of some review reports was poor.

"The views of children were not represented in the review reports."

"Systems for ensuring that garda vetting was updated for foster carers and that all household members over 16 years of age were garda vetted were not adequate."

It also found long delays in the assessments of relative carers.

Galway/Roscommon

Of the eight standards inspected against in the Galway/Roscommon area, one standard was compliant, three standards were substantially compliant and there were four moderate non-compliances.

HIQA found that foster carers were well supported and the provision of training to foster carers in the area was good.

Assessments of foster cares were good quality, but not always timely - while recruitment and retention strategies were also good.

There was a backlog of reviews - with 25% of carers not having a review for over three years. However, these reviews are scheduled to be completed by the end of August 2017.

Allegations against foster carers were well managed, but HIQA says there was room for improvements in regards to the notification of allegations to the foster care committee and the classification of allegations.

The system to ensure Garda Síochána vetting of foster carers was updated also required improvement, HIQA says.

Regular visits to foster carers required improvement, and six foster carers did not have an allocated link social worker.