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Minister for Children must act on HIQA report – Ó Caoláin

26 July, 2013 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on children, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, has urged Minister for Children, Frances Fitzgerald, to act on the findings of the HIQA report on foster care and children’s residential services, some of which he said are “very worrying”.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“The HIQA report on foster care and residential services will increase concern about the serious deficiencies in services for children.

“Some of the findings, based on an overview of 33 inspections carried out in 2012, are very worrying, especially with regard to foster care.

“It is most serious that HIQA has found a lack of urgency on the part of the HSE in some of their investigations of allegations made against foster carers.

“Equally serious is the finding that in 2012 some children did not have social workers and some children lived with unapproved foster carers.

“The lack of adequate support for and monitoring of foster carers, the insufficient number of foster carers in some areas and staff shortages impacting on the HSE’s ability to deliver a safe and high quality fostering service, are all issues that require immediate address.

“It must be stressed that the majority of foster carers are providing excellent care and the HIQA report has found high quality social work practice and healthcare services which have improved the lives of children.

“The Minister for Children must act promptly on the findings of this Report. The establishment of the Child and Family Agency, the legislation for which was addressed in the Dáil in the last week before the summer recess, will be a hollow exercise unless the necessary staff and other resources are made available to provide essential front-line services for children.”

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