HIQA report on fostering services
A HIQA (Health Information and Quality Authority) report on the quality of foster care services in the Dublin North region has reported that most children report feeling 'happy and safe' in foster care in the region but there were areas where the service could improve.
EPIC (Empowering People in Care), said that the report contained many positives and showed that 'many children reported being happy and feeling safe in their placement'.
The organisation said: 'In particular, the findings highlighted good relationships between children and their social workers.
'The majority of children said they liked and trusted their social worker and felt listened to. The level of family access was also identified as good by children. Overall, the report identifies the provision of a good quality social work service in this region despite operating at an 80% capacity at the time of this inspection.
'However, not all social workers and foster carers had received Children First training.'
The report also highlights some deficits in the system including a lack of the complaints process by children, as well as a shortage of foster carers in this region particularly, from various cultural and ethnic minority backgrounds, deficiencies in how the system handles children with disabilities were also identified.
The HSE has responded to the report, outlining several steps it intends to take to address the shortfalls in the system, identified by HIQA.
Speaking following the publication of the findings, Director of EPIC, Jennifer Gargan made the following comment: 'EPIC welcomes the publication of HIQA's report on foster care services in Dublin North. The voices of children and young people highlight the positive work that so many foster carers and social workers are doing and we commend that.
'We are glad to see that the majority of children in this area are in stable placements. Stability in care placements is so vital for a child/young person's well-being, therefore we need to work on supporting and training foster carers to ensure positive outcomes for all children and young people in and leaving care.
'Furthermore, we need to work on facilitating the needs of the most vulnerable such as children and young people with disabilities and children with serious behavioural difficulties as highlighted in this report.
'Therefore, provision of resources to facilitate the gaps in services should be a priority for the new Child and Family Agency.'