Thursday 25 July 2013: For immediate release
Alliance Urges Action on Findings of HIQA Overview Report
on Care Services
The Children’s Rights Alliance urges immediate action following today’s publication by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) of its first overview report of foster care and children’s residential services during 2012.
Tanya Ward, Chief Executive says: “This report provides us with a valuable analysis of foster and residential care for children in Ireland. While examples of good practice have been identified, the report highlights many areas of serious concern where immediate action must be taken. We cannot wait for the creation of the Child and Family Agency to wave a magic wand and fix these problems - action is needed today.”
“Children in the care system are among the most vulnerable children in the State, and many have past experiences of abuse and neglect. These children have a clear right to be provided with special protection and assistance. Over many years, successive reports have shown how we have utterly failed children in care. In its report today, HIQA has once again revealed gaping holes in this still struggling system.”
“Once again, we call for action to ensure that every child in care is provided with a social worker and to ensure that all those working in the sector are vetted. These are basic child protection priorities. Similarly, concrete action must be taken on complaints made against any foster carer or worker. Foster carers, the vast majority of whom do a wonderful job, must be provided with the necessary training and support to enable them to adequately look after children, some of whom exhibit challenging behaviour. Most fundamentally, the care system must be properly resourced to ensure this dedicated reform can happen.”
For further information and interview bids, please contact:
Emma McKinley, Communications and Development Manager
Tel: (01) 662 9400 / 087 7702845
Notes to Editor:
- HIQA Overview of findings of 2012 children’s inspection activity: foster care and children’s residential services is available here: http://childrensrights.ie/resources/overview-findings-2012-children%E2%8...
- HIQA’s report reveals alarming child protection gaps in relation to foster and residential care. For example:
- Some children in foster care did not have a social worker.
- Some children were living in foster care with unapproved carers.
- There was a lack of urgency during some investigations by the HSE of allegations made against foster carers.
- Staff shortages impacted on the HSE’s capacity to deliver a safe, high-quality fostering service.
- The residential care system was also found to be under significant pressure and in some instances these pressures were placing children at risk.
- Not all staff working in residential centres were vetted.
- There was poor collection and analysis of data to improve services.
- Carers and staff were not adequately supported or trained to respond to challenging behaviour.
- Article 20 on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that:
- A child temporarily or permanently deprived of his or her family environment, or in whose own best interests cannot be allowed to remain in that environment, shall be entitled to special protection and assistance provided by the State.
- States Parties shall in accordance with their national laws ensure alternative care for such a child.
- Such care could include, inter alia, foster placement, kafalah of Islamic law, adoption or if necessary placement in suitable institutions for the care of children. When considering solutions, due regard shall be paid to the desirability of continuity in a child's upbringing and to the child's ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic background.