PROGRESS IN IRELAND’S child protection procedures are moving forward, with the announcement yesterday of new inspections by the Health Information and Quality Authority for Ireland’s child welfare services.
The inspections will see the State’s children and families services subject to independent inspection and monitoring for the first time.
Director of Regulation at HIQA, Phelim Quinn, told TheJournal.ie that this move is on the back of the government’s political priorities for children who are at harm or at risk of harm.
“While there’s not an explicit link to the Children’s Referendum, we do believe this is part of the general government policy as it moves forward,” he said.
Quinn said these inspections are “a vital stage in the process of delivering high standards in care”.
“It also brings us in line with what happens in other countries internationally who are subject to regulation,” he said. “It’s an important function of the State because it has vested control into these services.”
“This being our first round of inspections, we are a bit behind but we’ve learned a lot from those countries that have a system in place and we’ve looked at how they’re doing it,” he said. “In every country, the set of services are unique to that country, for example, the particular financial challenges here.”
Quinn said these inspections will be looking at services’ abilities to respond appropriately to a child who is referred to them in relation to their risk, “whether it’s in relation to physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse or anther form of harm”.
“It’s too early to say that we have confidence or a lack of confidence in services because we’ve just completed the first inspection but we should now be able to see whether or not patterns are emerging,” he added.