Foster care service in north Dublin found to be ‘largely compliant’, says HIQAGary Ibbotson 03 Feb 2023
Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) last week published a report which found that the foster care service, The Child and Family Agency in north Dublin was largely compliant with the standards and guidelines set out by the health service.
In its judgement, HIQA said that during its inspection, which took place back in October 2022, it found that the service had “good systems for promoting learning from complaints and compliments.
“Service managers clearly recognised the importance of hearing and learning from the experiences of children, parents and foster carers.”
The inspectors said that complaints were “locally reserved and all that were investigated in a timely manner.
“Staff took care when planning and conducting children’s and foster carer’s reviews that they included checks for complaints.
“Records of statutory visits showed that children were advised they could complain about anything they were not happy about.
“This included also making sure that children had a trusted adult they could talk to.”
In a statement, the child and family agency, Tusla welcomed the report.
“The service was found to have strong leadership and an improvement-driven culture, with a strong focus on ensuring children in foster care were safe and well-cared for,” a spokesperson said.
“Children were encouraged to share their personal experiences and all the children who spoke with inspectors said they were happy overall with their care arrangements.
“Foster carers said their experience of the fostering assessment process had been mostly positive, although the process was lengthy.
“They spoke of the valuable support they received and there was also improved training and support networks in place for new foster carers.
“Since the previous inspection, the service area had continually strengthened its leadership and governance arrangements with clear plans, policies, and procedures for the delivery of safe and effective foster care services.”
Commenting on the report, Eilidh MacNab, Tusla Regional Chief Officer, Dublin North East said: “We are pleased that our commitment to improving our foster care services has been acknowledged in this inspection.
“With improved governance and oversight, we aim to make our child protection and welfare services stronger to provide stable and safe environments for children and young people who can’t live at home, and to support families in the area who open their homes to vulnerable children.
“Whilst challenges remain, we continue to take steps to recruit additional staff and foster carers to help improve the services and address the shortage of foster carers in the area.
“We value the input from the children and young people in care and we are working with multiple stakeholders to achieve the very best outcomes for children and families.”
In the development of the Tusla Foster Care Strategic Plan 2022-2025, Tusla consulted with over 500 internal and external stakeholders.
This has resulted in significant learning for the Agency and has supported developing an ambitious plan to develop services to better meet the needs of children and young people, foster carers, and staff, by 2025.
Tusla receives consistent and high quality regulation and oversight by various external bodies, including HIQA. This oversight assists us in ensuring that our practices deliver good quality, timely and appropriate interventions and services for children and families.