HIQA report says children experienced "significant harm" at residential centre

Tusla says it has created and begun to implement an action plan

HIQA report says children experienced "significant harm" at residential centre

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Tusla says it accepts the findings of a highly critical report on a children's residential centre in the south of the country.

The document from HIQA says systems like communication and monitoring were ineffective, and such problems resulted in children experiencing "significant harm".

Inspectors identified 'significant risks' in four areas examined during their unannounced visit.

They found the unnamed centre had gone through a period of crisis in the past year.

Tusla says it has created and begun to implement an action plan to address the deficits identified.

Jim Gibson, chief operations officer at Tusla, said: "While the report demonstrated evidence of good practice and care, it is with regret that we acknowledge shortcomings in a children's residential centre in the south region."

Tusla says it is putting several measures in place to improve the service and standards in the centre, including:

  • Developing a National Child Protection Practice Note for Children’s Residential Services, which includes a code of behaviour and amended child protection policy
  • Reinstating child protection review meetings in the centre and increased their frequency to quarterly
  • Assigning two monitoring officers to carry out monitoring visits in the service on a monthly basis until care and safeguarding practice in the service reaches the required standard

Responding to HIQA's findings, Jennifer Gargan - Director of EPIC (Empowering People in Care) - said: “EPIC is very concerned by HIQA’s findings on the extent of the risks present in this residential centre. We are alarmed by the number of negative significant events notifications that occurred over the last year, and we hope that swift action will be taken to address the high number of incidents of children being absent from the centre.

"Keeping children safe is paramount, especially during times of crisis. We trust that Tusla will address the grave issues raised by HIQA, to ensure that serious incidents are dealt with in a timely and appropriate manner, and that children are protected from harm.”