28th February 2019

Child protection must always be a priority

For every organisation working with children child protection must be the priority above all else. It is of concern that despite such poor findings from a HIQA inspection in January 2018 that it took until January 2019 for Oak Lodge Fostering Services to cease operating. A further announced inspection was carried out in September 2018, but worryingly many significant failings and major non-compliances remained. EPIC commends HIQA for their inspection process.

EPIC believes that the provision of an appropriate action-plan for services such as Oak Lodge Fostering Services to improve and meet minimum standards should be considered. Such a plan would be collaborative between HIQA, Tusla and the service provider and have clear deliverables with a realistic timeframe and regular oversight of progress made. A repeat unannounced inspection, or series of inspections where resources allow, could be carried out within a reasonable timeframe to verify progress. A nine-month delay between inspections, such as in the case of Oak Lodge, seems excessive in the case of serious concerns around child protection.

Terry Dignan, CEO of EPIC, said:

Too often we are seeing that organisations working with children are not prioritising child-protection through the development of a robust and appropriate child protection framework and the training of staff and volunteers in the protection of children. 

With the considerable support and assistance available to organisations in developing frameworks and policies, through organisations like Tusla and others, there is no excuse for any organisation not to have a robust framework of policies and protocols for the protection of children in place and suitable training for all staff and volunteers.”

Notes to the Editor

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

ENDS

For all media enquiries, or to arrange an interview please contact:

Terry Dignan, CEO of EPIC

Telephone: 01 8727 661 Mobile: 087 2370269

Email: terrydignan@epiconline.ie

www.epiconline.ie   https://www.facebook.com/epicireland.   https://twitter.com/epicireland

EPIC Empowering People In Care is a Company Limited by Guarantee, registered at 7 Red Cow Lane, Smithfield Dublin 7, D07 KX52.

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