Hiqa: Children placed ‘at risk’ in midlands centre

The health watchdog has found children were placed at ‘unnecessary risk’ for three months in a children’s residential centre in the midlands.

It also noted how 22 child-protection and welfare concerns were reported since the previous inspection.

Last October the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) carried out an unannounced inspection of the six-bedroom detached house, located in a rural area in the midlands.

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At the time, the centre, which is run by the Child and Family Agency (Tusla), was providing medium to long-term care for four children.

The watchdog says that although staff did what they could to keep children safe, there were times in the year prior to the inspection that children were placed at ‘unnecessary risk’.

It notes the centre made a decision to discharge one child because they posed a risk to other children.

But the child remained in the centre for a further three months because the social-work department was unable to find them another placement.

Hiqa says this meant that children living in the centre were placed at unnecessary risk during this period.

The risk was so high for one child that they were removed from what was essentially their home to stay in a hotel for one weekend for their own safety, while the child who posed the risk remained in the centre.

Hiqa says this was not good practice.

The authority also found that aftercare planning in the centre wasn’t effective and that not all children had an allocated social worker.

Tusla has outlined to the watchdog how it’ll address these issues.

Various aspects of good care were also noted, with staff described as warm and providing good care to children.