Tuesday 20 March 2018

Vulnerable foster children left to live with families known to be 'risks'

Vulnerable children forced to live in subpar conditions. Stock Image
Vulnerable children forced to live in subpar conditions. Stock Image
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Vulnerable children were put at risk after being left in foster families who were deemed unfit to care for them, a new report has revealed.

The children were placed with relatives who were rejected by social services in the Dublin south central area due to concerns and "known risks".

But instead of being removed, a small number were left to live with the families, inspectors from the patient safety watchdog, the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa), revealed.

The revelation is among a litany of concerns uncovered during an inspection of foster care services.

The area covers the south inner city, Rialto, Inchicore, Ballyfermot, Clondalkin, Rowlagh , Palmerstown and Lucan.

There were 351 children in foster care in the area when it was inspected in November and early December.

The inspectors found six foster carers whose vetting was not completed.

Another 107 carers had not been put through repeat vetting within the three years' deadline, as required under regulations.

Concerns also emerged about the failure to always secure Garda vetting for other adults living with, or who had unsupervised access to, children.

Some 27 child protection and welfare complaints relating to the foster care of children were made in the previous 12 months.

In a number of cases these related to the foster parents, but when files were checked three other concerns were found.

The files of two Tusla staff showed no evidence of them having gone through Garda vetting, the report said.

A separate report which looked at Care Visions, a private fostering service said children were cared for in safe and appropriate homes and had their physical and emotional needs met.

Inspectors were told there had been no child protection concerns in the last two years; however, on review four concerns of a child protection nature were found but were not made to the relevant department. Tusla and Care Visions both said that action plans are in place to address the issues.

Irish Independent

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