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HIQA special care report must consider lack of places says Child and Family Agency

Gordon Jeyes, CEO of the newly formed state agency, says lack of resources are a vital factor.

IN RESPONSE TO below-standard practices revealed today at a High Support Unit (HSU) in Dublin, the Child and Family Agency says that there is a growing lack of places for young people in special care.

Gordon Jeyes, CEO of the newly formed state agency, noted that although there continued to be a good standard of care in the High Support Unit (HSU) in Dublin North East, some of the children required care that was not available.

Jeyes welcomed the report but cautioned that resource factors must be considered:

Inspections by authorities such as Health Information and Quality Authority, are an integral part of the child care system. However, such inspections do not mitigate against a lack of places available for the growing number of young people requiring accommodation in more secure special care placements.

“I am pleased to report that there is a capital development programme underway which will double our capacity to 34 beds in special care by 2016,” he added.

The report published by HIQA today highlighted continuous risk-taking behaviour among teenagers, including fire-setting and substance misuse, during periods in which they left unauthorised.

The report said that further work was needed to modify behaviour management techniques at the units.

This was backed by Jeyes who said that a new assessment team, called the ACTS team, is being introduced to work with young people while in care and to support them on their return home.

The HSU has said that, in response to the deficiencies outlined in the HIQA report, it has begun to implement a number of changes to assess risk levels among the children living in the units and prioritise their care accordingly.

Read: Children in care starting fires a growing problem for HSE >

Read: Concerns raised over staffing at new Child and Family Agency >

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Rónán Duffy

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