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ISPCC responds to HIQA reports into residential care and calls for improvement

Apr, 2017
The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC) has today called for improvements following five HIQA inspection reports into children’s residential care services across the country. The reports highlighted a number of issues concerning child safeguarding and protection procedures and proper management.
The ISPCC welcomes the fact that the children residing in the residential services were on the whole, well looked after and received good quality of care. In one centre, children informed inspectors that they were happy to live in the centre.
However, there were a number of issues raised across the various reports:
  • Improvements were required in monitoring and oversight, communication systems, staff supervision and training
  • Safeguarding procedures not operating in line with Children First
  • Safety standards for children in the centres including fire precautions were not effective
  • Improvements were required for managing behaviour for children with risk behaviour, meal times in the centre, incorporating recommendations from social workers and absence management plans
  • Children not attending school and education programmes, inadequate planning to ensure children reach academic potential
  • Care plans not up to date and challenges around sourcing aftercare
  • Restrictive practices – not a sufficient rationale for some restrictive practices
ISPCC Chief Executive Grainia Long said: “Unfortunately, the issues which have been highlighted within this report are not new – there are ongoing concerns in relation to the protection and safeguarding of children who are in the care of the State. However, the unannounced reports have raised other points – some children are not attending school while others challenging behaviour is not being managed effectively.
“In each inspection, several of the national standards were inspected against. In one centre, only one standard was met out of seven inspected. Across the five reports, only 30% of the standards were met. Despite the fact that one of the centres was inspected in August 2016 with a number of recommendations introduced, improvements have been slow.
“It is the right of every child in the care of the State to be protected. All children require robust systems for their protection – systems that are resourced, and that are followed.”