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Foster service in south central Dublin had 'significant risks' for children

All other 21 headings “require improvement”.

Image: Shutterstock/Chinnapong

A REVIEW OF the foster care services in Dublin south central found that there were “significant risks” in five of 26 standards.

A Hiqa report into the services found that there were positives in the system, including the allocation of social workers, but that some safeguarding and vetting processes were consistently ignored.

The report found that there were significant risks in:

  • Safeguarding and child protection
  • Reviews of foster carers
  • Assessment of relative foster carers
  • Management of foster care agency
  • Training and qualifications

All other 21 headings “require improvement”.

Moreover, there was no system in place to ensure all staff were vetted in line with Children First (2011) and Tusla’s own recruitment policy. Social workers also told inspectors that there was confusion and uncertainty amongst the team on how to manage welfare concerns and allegations.

Among the serious risks that were identified at this service were long delays in the commencement and completion of relative foster carer assessments and in achieving a decision from the foster care committee.

In addition, inspectors found that regular reviews of foster carers to assess their continuing capacity to provide quality care to the children placed with them were not occurring.

It was also found that the management of the service was “crisis-led” rather than delivered in a planned manner.

Concerns

The service told HIQA there had been no child protection concerns in the previous two years; however, on review of files, inspectors found four concerns of a child protection nature detailed in significant event notifications. In these cases, child protection reports were not made to the relevant social work department.

A statement from Tusla COO Jim Gibson said:

“HIQA inspection reports are an important measurement tool and allow us to ensure that Tusla services operate at the highest possible standard. The report published today demonstrates evidence of good, child-centred practice and care in Dublin South Central, however, we acknowledge that there are areas which require improvement within the area’s fostering services.

“Every child in foster care in Dublin South Central has an allocated social worker to ensure they are safe and well cared for in their placement.”

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