HIQA Foster Care Service Inspection Report For The Midlands

Tusla – Child and Family Agency acknowledges the publication today of the HIQA inspection report in relation to fostering services in the Midlands. The inspection report highlights that the area has made significant improvements with regard to child in care reviews, care planning and reviews of foster carers, in particular, since the previous inspection in 2016.

 Other positive findings include:

  • All foster carers received good quality assessments prior to approval.
  • The majority of foster carers had allocated link social workers who provided good quality support and supervision.
  • There were no foster care households without a link social worker who had a child placed without an allocated social worker.
  • There were clear procedures for emergency placements of children with relative foster carers.
  • The area responded quickly and appropriately to allegations against foster carers.
  • There was good practice in place to ensure foster carers were reviewed in line with standards.

Commenting on the publication of the report, Patricia Finlay, Service Director Dublin Mid-Leinster, Tusla, said: “This report demonstrates the significant progress that has been made by management and staff in the delivery of service improvements in the Midlands area. The report also identifies areas for improvement and we are actively working to implement a comprehensive action plan submitted to HIQA.”

Tusla is putting the following measures in place to further improve services:

  • The Midlands will go live on the National Child Care Information System (NCCIS) imminently. The system is being rolled-out around the country and will ensure that every social work department in Ireland has a robust, secure information system to support the delivery of effective child protection and welfare services.
  • All outstanding relative foster carers now have up to date Garda vetting and applications are being processed for foster family members.
  • A system has been put in place to enhance the review of Safety Plans where an allegation or serious concern has been made and assessment is on-going.
  • As an interim measure, until all outstanding foster carers have an allocated link social worker, three monthly supervision/support contacts will be undertaken.
  • The Regional Fostering Assessment Team completed a needs analysis of placement needs and devised a recruitment strategy. The Service Director is establishing a regional working group to review the strategy based on need and to refine it as appropriate.
  • A training database is in place to record attendance by individual foster carers. Link social workers will actively encourage carers to attend training and this will be kept under regular review.
  • All foster carers have been written to advising that they must complete mandatory Children First training.

Tusla is subject to consistent and high quality regulation and oversight. This is crucial to ensure that our practices deliver good quality, timely and appropriate interventions and services for children. Service improvements are closely linked to Tusla’s transformation programme which will enhance many aspects of the Agency, including organisational culture, HR strategy, governance systems, and other corporate functions.

As part of the transformation programme, the Agency has developed a new Child Protection and Welfare Strategy which will assist in providing a proportionate, timely and appropriate response to children and families, sharing responsibility and control with families and communities through co-created solutions and an inter-agency approach. This will involve implementing a national approach to practice, which is based on the principles of ‘Children First’. The national approach to practice is being rolled out across all of the Agency’s services, with every function in the Agency being aligned to support the approach.

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