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.


Notes to the Editor

  1. The HIQA inspection report is available to read here:
  1. Ballydowd Special Care Unit is one of three special care units in Ireland. It is a secure facility that caters for boys and girls between the ages of 11 and 17 years.

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

Jennifer Gargan, Director of EPIC                    

Telephone: 01 8727 661 Mobile: 086 607 3866

Email:  Website:

EPIC (formerly IAYPIC) is an independent association that works throughout the Republic of Ireland, with and for children and young people who are currently living in care or who have had an experience of living in care.

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