22 May 2022

Tusla welcomes HIQA inspection of Carlow, Kilkenny and South Tipperary Services


The Child and Family Agency has come in for criticism over the lack of a family resource centre in Longford town

Tusla – Child and Family Agency welcomes the HIQA inspection report in relation to foster care and child protection services in the Carlow, Kilkenny and South Tipperary area.

This HIQA report was a combined foster care and child protection and welfare inspection and assessed progress made in relation to the implementation of measures to enhance the capability and capacity of the service.

Speaking about the report, Roisin Boyd, Acting Area Manager for Carlow, Kilkenny, South Tipperary, Tusla, said: “The inspection report highlighted significant on-going improvements in the area, both in foster care and child protection services. Although there are further improvements to be made, we are pleased that HIQA has acknowledged the significant progress made so far.

Overall we are continuing to build on much of the good work in our services in Carlow, Kilkenny and South Tipperary and we remain committed to improving the care and safeguarding of children in the area.”

Of the 12 standards assessed, one was compliant, four were substantially compliant, five were non-compliant (moderate), and the remaining two were major non-compliant (major).

The report found that:
- Management and staff of the Carlow, Kilkenny, South Tipperary service area were committed to providing a consistent, timely and responsive foster care and child protection and welfare service.
- Every child in care had a familiar professional within the department who maintained contact with them.
- The area was committed to building relationships with the children and families they worked with. The area arranged ‘care days’ for children in care where social workers organised fun activities to do with them.
- The area was also committed to hearing the voice of children and foster carers. This was evident through the development of a ‘Children in Care Focus Group’ and the organisation of a number of engagement days with foster carers, seeking input on the quality of the service and improvement planning.
- During this inspection, inspectors found that the area had maintained a strong screening system – 100% of cases screened within 24 hours
- Preliminary enquiries and initial assessments were found to be of good quality.
While the report found significant improvements in the majority of areas assessed, it also highlighted deficits in some areas, such as the management of retrospective cases; the management of safety planning for children who didn’t have a dedicated social worker, and the management of statutory visits and child in care reviews.

Tusla is putting a range of measures in place to further improve services. In order to reduce the number of cases awaiting allocation and to improve the management of waitlists for child protection and retrospective services, the area has;
Recruited three agency social workers for the Duty and Assessment Team which has reduced the number of unallocated cases.
Three vacant social work team leader posts have been filled and additional social care staff have been assigned to carry out actions on child protection and welfare waiting lists, e.g. visits, safety network checks and review safety plans, all of which has increased the service’s ability to monitor cases awaiting allocation.
Additional training workshops have been arranged for staff on safety planning and risk assessments, and new local guidance on safety planning has been implemented.
In addition, the area is developing a more robust screening process for cases of retrospective abuse to ensure that all possible risks to children are assessed at Intake stage.
The report highlighted deficits in statutory visits as required by the regulations and in waiting lists of child in care reviews. An additional full time reviewing officer along with additional business support have been appointed which has ensured that reviews are taking place and care plans are completed in a timely way. All children requiring a child in care review has a date set for a review and 100% of children in care now have a care plan.

This report demonstrates the significant progress that has been made by management and staff in the delivery of service improvements in the area. Tusla’s core mission is the wellbeing of children and families and we welcome any scrutiny and evaluation that drives improvement to ultimately enhance services for children and families.

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