Foster carers in areas including Clondalkin, Ballyfermot, Palmerstown and Lucan not vetted correctly

MORE THAN 100 Foster carers in parts of South and West Dublin including Clondalkin, Ballyfermot, Palmerstown and Lucan have not been put through the required vetting.

A report from The Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) said its review of childcare in Dublin South Central found significant protection risks.

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The health watchdog, HIQA, have found more than 100 foster carers have not been put through the required repeat vetting.

The Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) said its review of childcare in Dublin South Central found significant protection risks.

Dublin South Central covers the south inner city, Rialto, inchicore, Ballyfermot, Clondalkin, Rowlagh, Palmerstown and Lucan.

There are 351 children in foster care in the above areas.

HIQA inspectors said records showed six foster carers whose vetting was outstanding.

There were another 107 carers who had not been put through repeat vetting within the three years deadline, as required under regulations.

HIQA said Garda vetting was not always obtained for other adults living with, or who had unsupervised access to, children.

The inspection last November and December, which recorded 154 foster carers and 119 relative carers in 273 households, was told that there were 27 child protection and welfare complaints about children in Tusla’s foster care in the area in the previous 12 months.

Some related to the foster parents but when files were checked three other concerns were found.

The report said the files of two Tusla staff showed no evidence of them having gone through Garda vetting.

There were also 17 incidents of children going missing from care in the Dublin South Central area in the previous 12 months.

In cases relating to relative foster carers, HIQA found some children were in placements for up to six years before a comprehensive assessment had been completed.

Inspectors also raised concerns that Tusla was carrying out repeat assessments of carers who had already been deemed unsuitable.

Commenting on the report’s findings, Jim Gibson, Chief Operations Officer, Tusla, said “HIQA inspection reports are an important measurement tool and allow us to ensure that Tusla services operate at the highest possible standard.

“The report demonstrates evidence of good, child-centered practice and care in Dublin South Central, however, we acknowledge that there are areas which require improvement within the area’s fostering services.

"Every child in foster care in Dublin South Central has an allocated social worker to ensure they are safe and well cared for in their placement.

"However, Tusla remains committed to improving the care and safeguarding of children in foster care in Dublin South Central and all children in our care.”

ISPCC Chief Executive Grainia Long stated: “The HIQA report states that the Tusla service in particular was 'crisis led rather than delivered in a planned manner'.

"The fact that just one of our national standards has been met is extremely disappointing. These HIQA inspections took place in November and December 2016 and follow a pattern of similar inspections held in 2016.

"Minimum required standards are not being met in a way that children accessing these services have a right to expect.

"In particular, the issue of vetting staff, assessing foster carers and safeguarding children is consistently referred to in the Tusla-provided service report.”

She added: “It is the right of every child in the care of the state to be protected and as the report demonstrates, improvements are required in Garda vetting and adherence to Children First.

"All children require robust systems for their protection – systems that are resourced, and that are followed. Foster care is now the responsibility of Tusla, the child and family agency.

"There is a need for a significant focus in this area, as a matter of urgency. There must be comprehensive assessments and ongoing monitoring of foster placements.”

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