| 12.9°C Dublin

Staff 'felt unsafe' at childcare unit - study

SUBSTANCE misuse, bullying and setting fire to things – these were just some serious incidents inspectors found at a north Dublin state-run support unit for troubled children.

The Health Information and Quality Authority report on Crannog Nua, Portrane, has highlighted that there was a number of serious incidents at the high support unit in 2013.

The report highlighted that at times, staff and other children felt unsafe, and that the gardai were called to the unit on a number of occasions.

There were also 134 reported incidents of unauthorised absences. Inspectors examining the unit on October 1 and 2 also found that the residents were locked indoors for 12 hours per day- from 8pm until 8am.



However, this failed to stop the high level of unauthorised absences. The report found that the locking of the exterior doors of the unit at 8pm is not in line with national policy, as it restricts the children's rights.

In the report, HIQA said that the despite the fact that there was a "committed management team" and a "motivated staff team", some of the "complex needs of the children were not being met".

"The level of absences was not reduced by the locking of the doors as children absconded at other times of the day. Current strategies in place had not reduced the overall rate of absconding from the unit."

The report said that the unit, which can house up to ten at a time, is for young adults who are "experiencing difficulty in their lives, and needed additional support".