HIQA outlines its concerns about Oberstown care
The latest HIQA report on Oberstown Children's Detention Campus in Lusk raises concerns about security and safety arrangements on the campus while acknowledging that the facility is undergoing a period of major change and is making progress in a number of areas.
In a follow-up report based on a visit to the campus in the summer, the HIQA report gives a mixed review to the Lusk campus.
The two-day visit by inspectors found a campus 'in the process of significant change', the report states. It adds: 'Since the last inspection staff and young people had moved into newly constructed units. New staff members had been recruited and there was ongoing recruitment at the time of inspection. New policies and procedures had been introduced and construction work was ongoing.
'Some progress had been made in addressing the deficits in the last inspection but improvements were required in key areas such as the use of the restrictive intervention of single separation, care planning, medication management and training.'
Raising the security issues on the campus that saw a number of its detainees escape earlier this year, the report stated: 'Inspectors noted that records relating to incidents of absconding and children's non-returns from permitted leave were reviewed by all management levels. The records showed that young people had on occasions not returned from home leave and some children had absconded over fences on the campus.'
On young people's care in the campus, the report states: 'Young people's needs were not always comprehensively assessed. The majority of young people had care plans but they varied in terms of their quality and were not consistently reviewed in line with internal guidelines of the campus.'
And on the controversial isolation of difficult youngsters, known as 'single separation', the report stated: 'Practice in the use of single separation had not improved despite various interventions such as closer monitoring of the frequency and duration of these interventions. As per the last inspection it was not consistently used as an intervention of last resort and for the shortest duration in line with procedures.' However, the report states: 'Good leadership was provided by the campus manager, senior management team and the board in implementing a change management programme. However, there remained many challenges for the staff team and management in building a campus-wide culture.