Children Residential Centres inspections by HSE inconsistent and insufficient – McLellan
Sinn Féin TD and Children Spokesperson Sandra McLellan has branded inspections of Children’s Residential Centres as “inconsistent and insufficient”. She was commenting on reports that the Health Service Executive failed children in some residential care centres by allowing them to remain open when they were not up to standard, and that there have been delays to pre-announced inspections of centres because of staff shortages.
“The Ombudsman for Children Dr. Niall Muldoon has expressed concern for those children where his Office’s review found inconsistencies and discrepancies in policy across the country and where the monitoring of centres between inspections was not done on a consistent basis.
“These gaps create huge concern about how vulnerable this left some children as a result. The inspection and monitoring of residential centres is a vital safeguard for the children living there.
“There should be a national training programme for monitors to ensure that there is a sufficient number of inspectors available or necessary work.
“The investigation by the Ombudsman’s Office into the HSE’s (now Tusla – the Child and Family Agency) registration, inspection and monitoring of residential centres found among other findings that there was no standardised process and procedures across the four regions of the country, a lack of consistency across regions in relation to the production of registration reports, and no agreed policy on access.
“Dr. Niall Muldoon’s report was prompted by successive government failures to implement the Ryan Commission’s recommendation that all children’s residential settings be inspected effectively and independently.
“HIQA needs to begin inspecting the private and voluntary sector in a systemised fashion, immediately. It is not good enough to say that this transfer process from Tusla to HIQA could take up to 2 years. By then, further damage could be done to children who are completely reliant on these measures to be in place for their protection and care.”