Press Releases

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.

Care Day 2017: Celebrations Kick Off Next Week!

EPIC is celebrating the second annual Care Day on Friday the 17th of February 2017 at the Ombudsman for Children’s Office in Dublin at 5.00PM. It is a special day to celebrate the positive experiences of children and young people in care. Young people and professionals have been invited to share their positive experiences of the care system. This event will be preceded by a creative workshop for young people.

Care Day 2017 is only 6 weeks away !

EPIC will celebrate the second annual National Care Day on the 17th of February 2017. This is a special day to celebrate the positive experiences of children and young people in the care of the State. EPIC will facilitate an event at the Ombudsman for Children’s Office in Dublin, which will include a creative workshop for young people and opportunities for them to talk about being in care.

HIQA Residential Care Centre Report Identifies Grave Child Protection Issues

The latest HIQA report on a Residential Care Centre described significant risks identified under four standards: Care of Young People, Safeguarding and Child Protection, Premises and Safety, and Management and Staffing. The inspectors found that although the centre was appropriately meeting children’s education and health care needs, and promoting good relationships in between staff and children, its failure to manage behaviour, risk, communication and supervision had resulted in some instances in children experiencing significant harm, and in children being frequently placed at risk of significant harm.

HIQA Ballydowd Special Care Unit Report: Healthy relationships and child-centred care

The latest HIQA report on the Special Care Unit in Ballydowd identified that a third of standards were being met, with the further two thirds requiring improvement and only one significant risk identified.

The inspectors found that Ballydowd was providing child-centred care, where children were involved in the decisions made about them. EPIC welcomes HIQA’s findings, especially since Ballydowd staff was found to promote the relationships between children and their families, and risk assessments were completed in children’s best interest.

The Importance of Children’s Voice Highlighted in the Ninth Report of the Special Rapporteur for Child Protection

EPIC welcomes the publication of the Ninth Report of the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection, Prof. Geoffrey Shannon. The report highlights a wide variety of issues that children in Ireland face, and EPIC particularly supports Prof. Shannon’s recommendations on the necessity of children’s participation in formulating policies that affect them.

HIQA Special Care Unit Report: Encouraging results

HIQA’s latest report on the special care unit Coovagh House highlights that it was providing adequate care for children, despite the living environment not being fit for the purpose of providing effective care after damage had been caused to the unit. EPIC welcomes HIQA’s findings, especially insofar as children’s rights were found to be respected and that the children in Coovagh House had appropriate access to advocacy services as well as social workers and legal counsel.

Children in Care with disabilities need additional protection

EPIC welcomes the publication of senior counsel Conor Dignam’s report. This report was commissioned by the Minister for Social Affairs when it was revealed that “Grace”, a young woman with intellectual disabilities was left in an abusive foster care home despite evidence that it was unsafe. The focus of this report is two successive inquiries commissioned by the HSE, conducted by Conal Devine (2012) and Resilience Ireland Ltd (2015). His findings again highlight the exceptional vulnerability of the children in the care of the state, and the additional vulnerability of children in care with disabilities. EPIC believes that there are a number of key actions which would provide greater protection to children in care, and particularly to the most vulnerable groups, such as children with disabilities.

President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins pays tribute to Care Leavers on Care Leavers Day!                                                         

, 21st of October 2016

EPIC and Care Leavers Ireland today celebrate National Care Leavers Day hosting the third Annual Aftercare Conference entitled ‘Out On My Own’in George’s Hall, Dublin Castle.

The opening address of the conference was made by the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins.

The President paid tribute to all of the Care Leavers of Ireland, and to organisations such as EPIC and Care Leavers Ireland for empowering young people to vindicate their right to participate in debate and decisions about their future.

President of Ireland Opens Annual Aftercare Conference marking National Care Leavers Week!

EPIC and Care Leavers Ireland will host the third National Aftercare Conference entitled ‘Out on My Own’ in George’s Hall, Dublin Castle, Friday, October 21st 2016. The conference opening address will be made by President Michael D. Higgins. Speakers on the day will include young people with care experience, as well as a panel of experts who will be answering young people’s questions.

‘Out on my Own’ Aftercare Conference Opening Address by the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins

FOR YOUR DIARY! WHAT: ‘Out on My Own’, Annual Aftercare Conference & National Care Leavers Day opened by the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins. WHERE: George’s Hall, Dublin Castle, Dublin 2.  WHEN: Friday 21st of October 2016, 9.45-4pm      Immediate Release: 17th October 2016 EPIC and Care Leavers Ireland will host the third National Aftercare Conference entitled ‘Out on My Own’ to mark and celebrate National Care Leavers week. The opening address of the conference will be made by the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins. Speakers on the day will include young people with care experience. There will also be a special panel of guests who will be answering young people’s questions. The purpose of the conference is to focus on key issues for young people preparing to leave care or young people who are in aftercare. The main themes of the conference focus on aftercare, education, housing and homelessness and mental health. The aim of this conference is to raise awareness and identify the gaps for young people through hearing directly from their seldom heard voices. * Media interviews with young people who have care experience can be arranged in advance.  Notes to the Editor To book your place, click on the Eventbrite link Professionals €50.00, Students €25.00 Young People with care experience free. Ends For all media enquiries, or to arrange an interview please contact:  Jennifer Gargan, Director of EPIC        Noel Howard, Care Leavers Ireland   Tel: 01 872 7661/0866073866                       Tel: 087 1331280       Email:   EPIC (formerly IAYPIC) is an independent association that works throughout the Republic of Ireland, with and for children and young...

Every Child should have the Right to Be Cared for in their own Community

Immediate Release: 17th October 2016 HIQA has raised serious concerns in an inspection report published today on the foster care service in the Midlands. The report identified that out of 26 standards, six standards were judged as at ‘significant risk’, 20 standards needed improvement, none of the 26 standards were fully complied with. The report highlighted the lack of placements available for children in the area which resulted in crisis placements and with children being placed in out-of area placements. 8% of children had no allocated social worker and 45% of children did not have an up-to-date written care plan. Safeguarding visits to children had not taken place and there were long delays in assessments and making timely decisions from the Foster Care Committee. There were 23 unplanned endings in 2 years prior to the inspection. Speaking following publication of report, Director of EPIC, Jennifer Gargan made the following statement: “The findings from this report are extremely worrying. The report highlights the lack of suitable placements available for children in this area which is causing serious multiple effects. The impact for the children involved, as a result of out-of-area  placements means lesser contact with their families. The findings also highlight the impact of placement moves on children’s education and school attendance.             It is clear from this report that there needs to be an effective campaign to recruit more foster carers in this area. Every child in care should have an allocated Social Worker, care plan/aftercare plan. It is also clear that timeframes for completion of foster care assessments are required to protect and promote each child’s welfare and stability....

EPIC Welcomes Additional Funding to The Child and Family Agency

EPIC today welcomes the news that an additional €37 million will be allocated to Tusla, the Child and Family Agency in today’s budget totalling the annual budget of Tusla to €713 million. The allocation of this funding will be used for the employment of Social Workers to unallocated cases, development of special care services and enhancing Tusla’s capacity to respond in the areas of aftercare and children first legislation.

A Duty to Care

Immediate Release: 30th August 2016

EPIC is gravely concerned about the impact the current industrial action in Oberstown Campus is having on children placed in the detention centre.

Speaking following the recent industrial action, Director of EPIC, Jennifer Gargan made the following statement:

“EPIC is concerned about the impact the current industrial dispute is having on the overall well-being for young people residing on the campus. This is impacting on young people’s ability to attend recreational and educational activities and resulting in them being confined to their rooms for long periods.

EPIC believes that everyone, staff and management and trade unions must work together to resolve the current dispute in order to ensure the safety, welfare and protection of children and everyone on the campus.”

Tusla publishes Annual Report for 2015

Tusla, the Child and Family Agency have today published its annual report for 2015. The report contains key developments by the Agency in 2015 which includes: a 21% reduction of cases awaiting allocation to a Social Worker from 2014 to 2015 and a 65% reduction of high priority cases awaiting allocation to a Social Worker.

National Review Panel Reports identify Key Learnings

Immediate Release: 16th August 2016   The National Review Panel reports published today identify keys learnings following a review of the deaths of young people known to child protection services, some of whom were in State Care. The reports identify gaps in services in particular the lack of co-ordination between service providers. One of the reports published highlights the lack of suitable accommodation for young people experiencing mental health issues, lack of access to mental health services and the limited treatment options available to young people. Speaking following the publication of these reports, Director of EPIC, Jennifer Gargan made the following statement: “One of the key findings from these reports highlights the need for co-ordination and co-operation of services, in particular, between Tusla, mental health and disability services. There needs to be clarity around the key responsibility of each organisation identifying which organisation is the lead organisation particularly when a young person at the age of 18 is transitioning out of care. Some of these cases again highlight the need for every young person in care to have an allocated Social Worker at all times and have regular Statutory Child in Care Reviews. Furthermore all agencies should be trained in order to carry out a proper risk assessment for a young person upon referral to their service.      These reports clearly highlight the need for more specialised foster carers for young people with disabilities in which training and supports should be provided for regularly.     EPIC welcomes the learnings from these reports and reiterates the importance of  these learnings to be implemented into practice in order to protect and provide...

Service Shortages Continue to Put Children at Risk

The latest HIQA report in the Midlands again raises serious child protection and welfare concerns. The report found that only one national standard of 27 was fully met, 22 standards ‘required improvement’ and four standards were identified as having ‘significant risk’.

Yet Again, State Fails to Protect Vulnerable Young People and Adults

Immediate Release: 15th July 2016 A PrimeTime Investigates programme aired last night highlights serious concerns for young people with disabilities who have been in State Care. One of the key issues identified in the report were the absence of care files for these vulnerable young people. Speaking following the publication of HIQA reports earlier this week and the airing of the PrimeTime programme last night, Director of EPIC, Jennifer Gargan made the following statement: “We at EPIC are gravely concerned about the vulnerabilities of young people with disabilities living in State Care particularly as they reach the age of 18. Young people in State Care have little or no familial supports and are more vulnerable to abuse because of their disabilities. These young people should be afforded the greatest protection by the State, who as Corporate Parent has a responsibility for their care and protection.   Through EPIC’s National Advocacy Service, we have experience of young people falling through the cracks particularly upon transitioning into adulthood. There are an increasing number of referrals to our Advocacy Service, where there are no suitable follow-on placements for young people with disabilities upon leaving care at 18. In some of these cases, young people have only two options: access homeless services or return home, where in some circumstances, this may not be appropriate.”     It is vital proper protocols are in place as young people transition into adult services. Clarity on roles and responsibilities between Tusla and HSE Disability Services is required in order to ensure that no young person falls between the gaps. EPIC believes that every child with a disability...

Latest HIQA Detention Report: Some Progress, Lots More to Do

The latest HIQA Inspection for Oberstown Campus identified only one standard being fully met.

The report highlights positives such as the promotion of children’s rights, as well as young people being aware of their right to complain. However, there were also a number of concerns outlined such as the ineffective management of children’s challenging behaviours, risks associated with restrictive practices, not addressing offending behaviour and poor placement planning.

Cherish our Children Equally?

Immediate Release: 2nd June 2016 The Annual Overview Report on the Inspection and Regulation of Children’s Services 2015 has found inconsistencies in the quality of service provision for children and young people throughout the country. The report identified that the quality of service a young person received was largely dependent on the area they lived in. Further issues of concerns raised in the annual report include: long waiting lists for assessments, quality of assessments, children not being allocated social workers in a timely manner and delays in notifications of alleged abuse to An Garda Síochána. The report highlighted some positives such as children being aware of their rights. There was a high value placed on education in foster care services and timely support when children experienced difficulties in school. There were also improved systems in relation to care planning for children in detention. Speaking following publication of the report, Director of EPIC commented: “Every child and young person in Ireland should have equitable access to services. It should not be a post-code lottery. The report clearly highlights the need for all areas to have proper management and monitoring systems to meet the goals of the National Model of Service Delivery in order to provide a high quality service to our children and young people.   At the end of 2015, 21.5% of child protection and welfare cases were unallocated which is extremely worrying. All children should be allocated a Social Worker in a timely manner. The report again reiterates the need for Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, to be adequately resourced in order to fulfil its role.”      Notes...

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