An investigation by the Ombudsman for Children has found the Health Service Executive (HSE) failed children in residential care homes by allowing them to remain open, when it should have known their owners were breaking the law.
It also found significant gaps in the approach to registering, inspecting and monitoring of residential centres.
Dr Niall Muldoon has recommended that the inspection of these centres, which are run by private and voluntary agencies, should transfer to HIQA.
While HIQA provides the inspection, registration and monitoring of the centres, it is Tusla (formerly the HSE) who provide the same service within the non-statutory centres.
There are approximately 100 private and voluntary children's residential centres across four HSE/Tusla regions in Ireland.
"What we found is that across the country there was four regions, and each region was doing things differently", Dr Muldoon told Newstalk Lunchtime.
"There's sort of two agencies inspecting at the same time, and I think what we need is that level of consistency that means that every inspector that goes in, no matter what part of the country, they're hearing the same standards, they're publishing reports in the same way".
The investigation looked at Inspection reports from 49 centres and monitoring reports from 60 centres - all relating to the period between January 1st 2012 and August 31st 2013.
While awaiting the transfer of responsibility to HIQA, the Ombudsman recommends that:
- Registration of all centres should be processed in line with the Health Act 2007
- Newly registered centres should be given priority for monitoring
- That the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) takes overall national level responsibility for this activity and develops clear policies and procedures for its implementation