Report shows room to improve for Tusla in Cork

In February, the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) assessed Tusla’s services in the Cork area against 12 standards.
Report shows room to improve for Tusla in Cork

A RISK-BASED inspection report on the child protection and welfare and foster care services provided by the Child and Family Agency, Tusla, in Cork, has found those services were non-compliant with 10 out of 12 standards assessed. Photo: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

A RISK-BASED inspection report on the child protection and welfare and foster care services provided by the Child and Family Agency, Tusla, in Cork, has found those services were non-compliant with 10 out of 12 standards assessed.

In February, the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) assessed Tusla’s services in the Cork area against 12 standards.

This inspection considered the progress the service area had made in addressing key areas for improvement highlighted in previous inspections, in 2020 and 2021,

The area was assessed against eight child protection and welfare standards and four foster care standards.

Of the standards assessed, Tusla’s services were not compliant with 10, but were found to be “substantially compliant” with two.

HIQA found that safety plans were not sufficiently developed or reviewed, for some children referred to child protection and welfare teams.

The report noted “further improvement was required to ensure a consistently high standard of supervision and performance development of staff at all levels, and to embed systems of audit and assurance, to effectively manage and reduce risks to children and the wider organisation”.

In a statement, HIQA said that “overall, service leadership and systems of governance were developing well … but further work was required to strengthen management checks of the quality of practice and embed organisational learning.

“The recently developed county-wide child-in-care review team had made good progress in tackling the previously significant backlog of reviews.

“While inspectors found evidence of some improvements, additional time and resources were required to address ongoing waiting lists and delays in responding to local need,” it added.

HIQA said that there “remained significant gaps in foster care placements for children with complex needs. In particular, the availability of a suitable range of care placements for a small, highly vulnerable, group of children was inadequate.”

The statement said that social workers for children in care reported ongoing challenges in managing their caseloads to ensure statutory regulations were consistently met.

It said some teams “had a high number of cases which were designated as ‘awaiting allocation’”

Clare Murphy, Tusla Regional Chief Officer South East/South West, said it was clear that further progress was required.

“We have developed a service improvement plan, clearly outlining the actions for improvement, and are working hard to implement this, to enable a better experience for the children and young people in our services, the staff working in our services, and the families that engage with us,” Ms Murphy said.

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