Saturday 21 September 2019

Children put at risk due to failing service

(stock image)
(stock image)
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Weak standards in child protection and welfare services in Carlow, Kilkenny and the Tipperary area left young people at risk, a damning inspection report has revealed.

The service, inspected in November, had a waiting list of 213 children and families who needed an initial assessment.

There were also failures in the systems in place to alert gardaí that were not robust enough, according to the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa).

Hiqa inspectors discovered the waiting lists were not effectively managed, leaving children at potential risk.

The inspection also found fault with the quality of the screening carried out on families referred to the service.

There was also a failure to carry out background checks.

There was a lack of speed in following up some allegations of physical abuse against children.

The probe also highlighted cases where there were "multiple referrals" of the same children but there was no consistency in the response from the service, which is operated by Tusla, the Child and Family Agency.

In response Tusla said it "has recognised the need to strengthen our screening processes and that is why we developed our Child Protection and Welfare Strategy 2017-2022".

A comprehensive implementation plan is now under way to embed the strategy within the agency, it added. Tusla said it "is committed to implementing the actions to improve compliance with the national standards and has put...measures in place to improve services in the area."

Irish Independent

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