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'Major non-compliance': 82 foster carers in Cork did not have up-to-date Garda vetting

HIQA has written to the COO of Tusla about the risks that were identified.

Image: Shutterstock/poylock19

A HIQA INVESTIGATION into foster services in the Cork area has found widespread use by Tusla of unvetted foster families.

As part of its 2017 monitoring programme, HIQA is conducting thematic inspections across all 17 Tusla service areas.

The report published today concerns a follow-up inspection of the Cork service area.

The service was previously inspected by HIQA in February 2017. That report slammed the service as not having “sufficient oversight and monitoring”.

At that time, inspectors identified a number of serious risks and of the eight standards inspected against, there were five major non-compliances.

HIQA returned to the Cork service area in August 2017 to assess whether the assurances and actions provided by Tusla had been implemented. It found that the service was in major non-compliance with all four standards assessed.

While the timeframe had not yet been reached for some of the actions from the February inspection, actions which were to be immediately implemented in order to reduce the risks had not been implemented in a timely manner

The HIQA report found that 13 cases were deemed serious enough to be escalated to the child care manager to address the safeguarding risks and concerns arising from them.

There remained significant delays in the commencement and completion of assessments of relative carers with whom children were placed.

“While 33 relative carers had now been assigned a link social worker, there remained 42 relative carers without an allocated link social worker, despite assurances provided in February 2017 that this action would be taken as a matter of priority. Furthermore, 27 relative carers still did not have Garda Síochána vetting and 82 foster carers did not have up-to-date Garda vetting.”

HIQA has written to the COO of Tusla about the risks that were identified. A response has been received, HIQA says, but a further update will be requested this month.

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