MEDIA RELEASE

Immediate Release: 18th April 2017, 12.00PM

HIQA Dublin South Central Foster Care Service Report Identifies Serious Child Protection Issues

The latest HIQA report on the Dublin South Central Foster Care service only identifies one standard being met, 20 standards requiring improvement and significant risks under five standards: Safeguarding and Child Protection, Assessment and Approval of Relative Foster Carers, Review of Foster Carers, Management and Monitoring of Foster Care Agency and Training and Qualifications.

Although the service was meeting children’s education needs, and the children had developed warm relationships with their foster parents and all had an allocated social worker, persistent delays of several years in assessments and foster care committee decisions, as well as decisions to maintain children in the care of foster parents who had been assessed as being unsuitable and relative foster parents where known risks existed jeopardised the long-term safety of children in the care of the State.

Speaking following the publication of the report, Director of EPIC, Terry Dignan made the following comment:

EPIC is alarmed by HIQA’s findings on the extent of the child protection concerns in the Dublin South Central Foster Care Service. It is seriously worrying that children were found to be placed with foster carers who weren’t adequately vetted, or were maintained in placements where serious concerns for their potential long-term safety and well-being had been raised. It is crucial to protect children from crisis-led placements, and ensure that an adequate review mechanism is in place to remove children from unsafe placements.

Keeping children safe is paramount. We trust that Tusla will address the grave issues raised by HIQA, to ensure that inappropriate placements are dealt with in a timely and appropriate manner, and that vulnerable children are protected from harm.”

Maintaining children close to their home, where appropriate, is crucial to protecting their relationship with their families. EPIC hopes that additional suitable placements will be found promptly to prevent children being placed outside of their area. EPIC acknowledges HIQA’s findings on the children in this foster care service receiving minimal information about EPIC’s advocacy service, and will strive to ensure the situation is remedied.

EPIC is an independent organisation that provides an advocacy service throughout the Republic of Ireland, with and for children and young people who are currently living in care or who have experience of living in care.

-ENDS-

Media interviews with young people aged 18+ are only available upon request. 

For all media enquiries please contact: Charlotte Farrar, Communications Manager 

Telephone: 01 8727 661 Mobile: 085 818 0678      

Email: charlottefarrar@epiconline.ie   

Notes to the Editor

  1. There are currently 6,323 children in care in Ireland, including 4,102 in General Foster Care and 1,715 in Relative Foster Care (Tusla, Jan. 2017).
 

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