HIQA highlights ongoing concerns at residential childcare centres

At one centre, none of the children attended school during the inspection days

HIQA highlights ongoing concerns at residential childcare centres

File photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The ISPCC has called for improvements in children’s residential care services after the latest inspection reports highlighted a number of ongoing issues in certain centres around the country.

It comes after two reports released earlier in the week highlighted separate concerns about the quality of foster care services in the Dublin South Central region.

Today’s release from the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) included inspection reports on five residential centres - housing some of the most vulnerable children in the state.

The inspections uncovered a "varied level of service" being provided to children at the five centres.

While some services were found to be adequately meeting children’s needs - others were found to require further improvement to meet national quality standards.

One centre failed to meet national quality standards in six out of seven categories – while across the five centres inspected, only 30% of the standards were met.

Ongoing concerns

In a statement this afternoon the ISPCC welcomed the fact that on the whole, children in the centres were found to be well looked after and receiving good quality of care.

However the child protection charity pointed to a number of issues raised that require increased attention.

The reports found that improvements were required in staff supervision and training – with safeguarding procedures at two centres found to be out of line with the state’s ‘Children First’ best practice guidelines.

HIQA also highlighted concerns over the management of children with at risk behavioural problems and worries over some children not attending school and educational programmes.

At one centre, none of the children attended school during the inspection days.

“Unfortunately, the issues which have been highlighted within this report are not new,” said ISPCC chief executive Grainia Long.

“There are ongoing concerns in relation to the protection and safeguarding of children who are in the care of the State.”

She also raised concerns over the speed of improvements at centres that were found to be below standard in previous inspections.

“It is the right of every child in the care of the State to be protected,” she said. “All children require robust systems for their protection – systems that are resourced, and that are followed.”

The reports referred to three unannounced inspections and two follow-up inspections.

HIQA said that all of the services have now provided action plan proposals to address the issues identified and timelines for when the actions will be completed.