EPIC statement regarding HIQA Foster care report findings

EPIC – Empowering People In Care, has expressed serious concern at the findings by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) of major non-compliance with national standards in foster care services operated by the Child and Family Agency, Tusla, in the Dublin South Central, Dublin North City and Cavan / Monaghan areas. EPIC said that it was of particular concern there were twenty findings of non-compliance, either moderate or major, from twenty four standards measured across the three areas. Major non-compliance was found in six of eight areas of the foster care service in the Dublin South Central area, in five of eight in Dublin North City and in two of eight in Cavan/Monaghan with all three areas found to be majorly non-compliant in safe-guarding and child protection and review of foster carers. EPIC CEO Terry Dignan said: “It is deeply concerning that we are seeing repeated failings in key areas by these services. It’s critical that the failings identified by HIQA are prioritised and addressed effectively and in a way that ensures continuous improvement in those areas and that improvements are maintained and applied consistently across the system”. “We welcome the response by Tusla to address the failings highlighted by HIQA and would call for any additional resources required to ensure the success of the action plan being implemented by Tusla would be put in place without delay” For all media enquiries or to arrange an interview please contact: Terry Dignan, CEO of EPIC                     Telephone: 01 8727 661 Mobile: 087...
Audit into the use of Section 12 of the Child Care Act 1991 by An Garda Síochána identifies a crucial need for an out-of-hours social work service

Audit into the use of Section 12 of the Child Care Act 1991 by An Garda Síochána identifies a crucial need for an out-of-hours social work service

MEDIA RELEASE IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 29.05.2017 11:30am Audit into the use of Section 12 of the Child Care Act 1991 by An Garda Síochána identifies a crucial need for an out-of-hours social work service EPIC welcomes the publication of the audit into the use of Section 12 by An Garda Síochána by Dr. Geoffrey Shannon, Special Rapporteur on Child Protection. This audit, the first of its kind in Ireland, is an encouraging step towards greater transparency and accountability of An Garda Síochána in its use of exceptional powers. This in-depth analysis of removals of children from the care of their parents, guardians, or persons acting in loco parentis demonstrate that Gardaí generally acted reasonably and responded appropriately in challenging circumstances. EPIC is however seriously concerned by the poor levels of inter-agency cooperation and collaboration between An Garda Síochána and Tusla. This report shows that Gardaí were often kept in the dark about the progress of cases once they had handed children over to the care of Tusla. Ensuring that the child receives adequate care and protection is paramount, and efficient inter-agency work is crucial to conform to child protection best practice. In addition, EPIC is alarmed by the reliance of Tusla on a private fostering service, to fulfil part of their out-of-hours service. It is unacceptable to rely on a private provider when they do not have the obligation to take in all children removed under Section 12, and can refuse to take in children demonstrating challenging behaviour. Speaking following the publication of the report, Director of EPIC, Terry Dignan made the following comments: “EPIC is concerned by the reliance...
HIQA Dublin South Central Foster Care Service Report Identifies Serious Child Protection Issues

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

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,...
Care Day 2017: Celebrations Kick Off Next Week!

Care Day 2017: Celebrations Kick Off Next Week!

MEDIA RELEASE Immediate Release: 09th February 2017, 11.15AM 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 is part of a larger campaign that EPIC is involved in called Five Nations One Voice. It is a collaboration with four other care organisations in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Several other events are taking place all around the country in the week preceding Care Day 2017: EPIC is organising two football tournaments, one in Clontarf with Don Bosco Care on the 15th of February from 3-5pm, and one in Cork’s Glen Resource Centre on the 17th of February. EPIC’s Limerick office is hosting a Care Day coffee break on the 17th  and to top things off the young people from the Galway Fora have organised a Care Day party with bowling and laser tag! Social Work Teams around the country are also organising events to celebrate Care Day. They will be sharing their selfies on Facebook and on Twitter using the #CAREDAY2017! Director of EPIC, Terry Dignan stated: “Last year’s first ever Care Day was incredibly successful in promoting positive care identities and raising awareness around the issues that children and young people in care face. With Care Day we hope to further increase public awareness of...
Care Day 2017 is only 6 weeks away !

Care Day 2017 is only 6 weeks away !

Immediate Release: 6th January 2017 WHERE OMBUDSMAN FOR CHILDREN’S OFFICE MILLENNIUM WALK, STRAND STREET, DUBLIN 1 WHEN 17th OF FEBRUARY 2017 (TIME TBC) 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. This event is part of a larger campaign that EPIC is involved in called Five Nations One Voice. It is a collaboration with four other care organisations in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, all of which aim to create better outcomes for young people in care and promote a positive care identity for young people. Director of EPIC, Terry Dignan stated: “Last year’s first ever Care Day was incredibly successful in promoting positive care identities and raising awareness around the issues that children and young people in care face. On the 17th of February we hope to give young people an opportunity to celebrate being in care, further increase public awareness of care issues, and celebrate the voices, talents and achievements of children and young people in care. We look forward to celebrating with them and with everyone who will be showing their support by using the #CAREDAY2017”   Several other events will take place in the week preceding Care Day 2017. Details will be shared shortly. ENDS Media interviews with young people are only available upon request.  Notes...
HIQA Residential Care Centre Report Identifies Grave Child Protection Issues

HIQA Residential Care Centre Report Identifies Grave Child Protection Issues

Immediate Release: 29/11/16 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. Speaking following the publication of the report, Director of EPIC, Jennifer Gargan made the following comment: “EPIC is very concerned by HIQA’s findings on the extent of the risks present in this residential centre. We are alarmed by the number of negative significant events notifications that occurred over the last year, and we hope that swift action will be taken to address the high number of incidents of children being absent from the centre. It is seriously worrying that children were found to be exposed to higher risk situations and behaviours than the situations they were removed from. Keeping children safe is paramount, especially during times of crisis. We trust that Tusla will address the grave issues raised by HIQA, to ensure that serious incidents are dealt with in a timely and appropriate manner, and that children are protected from harm.” The children in Ferryhouse have complex needs, which is why a safe environment is crucial to their wellbeing and ensuring positive outcomes. The layout of the building was found to be unsuitable and preventing children from being kept safe....
HIQA Ballydowd Special Care Unit Report: Healthy relationships and child-centred care

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

Immediate Release: 23/11/16 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. Speaking following the publication of the report, Director of EPIC, Jennifer Gargan made the following comment: “EPIC is very pleased with HIQA’s findings on the improved quality of care in Ballydowd. We are delighted that children were found to have developed positive relationships with staff, as evidence shows it results in positive outcomes for children in care. We hope that levels of staffing at night will be increased, in order not to undermine the staff’s ability to positively manage children’s behaviour”.              Through EPIC’s advocacy and research work, children and young people in care always identify the importance of placement planning. The children in Ballydowd have complex needs, but moving on placements are critical to ensure children in secure care do not regress. EPIC welcomes HIQA’s recommendation that these delays in securing adequate moving on placements be tackled. Furthermore, it is absolutely necessary that Ballydowd addresses the issue of its response to allegations against staff, as children’s safety is paramount. ENDS Notes to the Editor The HIQA inspection report is available to read here: https://www.hiqa.ie/social-care/find-a-centre/inspection-reports?field_report_type_centre_value_many_to_one=reportchildrens&keys= Ballydowd Special Care Unit is one of three special care units in Ireland....
The Importance of Children’s Voice Highlighted in the Ninth Report of the Special Rapporteur for Child Protection

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

Immediate Release: 21st November 2016 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. Following the publication of the Special Rapporteur report, Director of EPIC Jennifer Gargan made the following comment:    “EPIC’s work with children in care through our advocacy service has highlighted the fact that children with disabilities are a particularly vulnerable group within the care system. EPIC supports Prof. Shannon’s call for the evaluation of Ireland’s child protection programme, to ensure that all stakeholders collaborate to identify risk situations and efficiently protect children with disabilities. We further join him in his call for the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. EPIC agrees with Prof. Shannon that children should be able to have their voice heard in decisions that will affect them, and that children’s participation will ensure the development of effective child protection systems. This is especially crucial to children in care, who often feel that their views make little difference. We commend Prof. Shannon’s suggestion that children in care should be involved in the running of the institutions they live in, and that preference should be given to foster and adoption placements instead of care homes.” EPIC further joins Prof. Shannon in his recommendation that efforts should be made to refrain from placing children in custody, and instead develop alternatives such as community service. ENDS Notes to Editor The...
HIQA Special Care Unit Report: Encouraging results

HIQA Special Care Unit Report: Encouraging results

Immediate Release: 11th of November, 2016 The latest HIQA report on the Special Care Unit Coovagh House identified that a third of standards were being met, with the further two thirds requiring improvement and only one significant risk identified. The report highlights that Coovagh House 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. Furthermore, children were found to have timely access to medical and other specialist health services as required. Speaking following the publication of the report, Director of EPIC, Jennifer Gargan made the following comment: “EPIC is delighted that Coovagh House has been found to provide adequate care, and that efforts continue to be made to ensure the children have access to advocacy services. We trust that Coovagh House will address the issue of their living environment to provide children with a homely and safe care setting, and to guarantee that they have access to indoor and outdoor recreational activities.” Through EPIC’s advocacy and research work, children and young people consistently highlight the importance of timely care plans. EPIC welcomes HIQA’s recommendation that care plans in Coovagh House be collectively reviewed. Ends Notes to the Editor The HIQA inspection report is available to read here: https://www.hiqa.ie/social-care/find-a-centre/inspection-reports?field_report_type_centre_value_many_to_one=reportchildrens&keys= (accessed 11/11/16) Coovagh House special care unit is one of three special care units. It has capacity for...
 

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