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Ombudsman Criticises Standards in Child Residential Care Homes

Posted: August 10th, 2015

The Ombudsman for Children have criticised the Health Service Executive’s Child and Family Service for a lack of monitoring of children in care homes.

Speaking on RTE’s “Morning Ireland” earlier this week, Niall Muldoon – the Ombudsman for Children – made comments that criticised the HSE’s Child and Family Service (named “TUSLA”). In his comment, he said that the service has knowing let voluntary and private residential care homes for children remain open when the service knows the operators have breached statutory regulations.

The Ombudsman says the shortage of staff in the Child and Family Service as well as “inconsistencies and discrepancies” in the standards of monitoring by the service, or the blatant failure to monitor. Investigations by his own office, he claimed, uncovered a delay of fourteen months after a care home’s registration for a formal inspection. He claims that this placed the children involved in a “vulnerable situation”.

Mr Muldoon explained on the programme that the inconsistencies were because of the development of four regions within the HSE, which developed over twenty years. Over the years, each region had set up its own policies, a concern for the Ombudsman. Mr Muldoon has said that the same standards of care should be employed by care homes across the country.

The Ombudsman made a proposal to merge TUSLA into the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), the body that monitors standards in residential homes run by the state. The proposal was made such that the agency could be run independently, following guidelines laid out in the Ryan Report of 2009.
Brian Lee, TUSLA’s Director of Quality Assurance, commented on RTE’s News at One that “We are working very closing with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and with HIQA to move this along. There’s nothing impeding us from supporting this process but it’s in the hands of the Department and HIQA to move this forward.”

Categories: Child injury News

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