21 November 2017
By Elaine Murphy
Labour spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs, Seán Sherlock TD, has expressed concern over the findings of a HIQA progress report on Tusla-operated foster care services in Cork.
The return inspection, which followed a previous inspection, last February, identified major non-compliance with all four standards assessed, which the report said ‘continued to pose a risk to children placed with the service’.
Deputy Sherlock said:
“It is simply not good enough that in the nine months since the previous inspection was carried out, major non-compliance issues were identified in the four standards assessed, and that some of the urgent actions needed to be taken, did not happen quick enough.
“Where is the urgency required to deal with these issues?
“This report showed that in 42 cases, relative carers did not have a social worker, leaving carer families without the necessary guidance, and posing risks on compliance with the legislation.
“ I am also concerned about issues identified surrounding Garda vetting, with a number of relative carers still not vetted, and other carers’ vetting not up-to-date.
“There have been other reports from HIQA outlining deficiencies in the delivery of foster services across the country, with non-compliance issues highlighted in Kerry and the mid-West earlier this year, for example.
“Budget 2018 allocates an €750 million and yet we still have not heard from Minister Zappone as to how those resources are going to be allocated to ensure compliance with HIQA standards and robust safeguarding legislation.
“Our children deserve better than this; we need to have confidence in the system that when risks are identified they are handled with the urgency they require.”