HIQA highlights lack of reviews for foster carers

by Sylvia Pownall

FOUR out of five foster carers in Fingal have not been reviewed within the required three years while one in seven were not vetted by gardai, a report has found.

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) ruled that child and family agency Tusla‘s recruitment of foster carers in north Dublin was problematic.

It found that garda checks for one in seven foster carers had not been updated for more than three years – and in one case three adults in one household had never been vetted.

There were also inadequate arrangements to ensure that carers who had not been allocated a social worker had received child safeguarding visits.
Fingal TD Louise O’Reilly described the report’s findings as “quite worrying”.

She added: “The welfare of children is of paramount importance and when it comes to vulnerable children in foster care it is even more important.”

Deputy O’Reilly, who is Sinn Fein health spokesperson, said: “The vast majority of foster carers do an incredible job.

“However revelations in the last number of years of both recent and historic abuse scandals involving children in foster care have highlighted the need for Tusla to carry out stringent reviews and vetting.

“It is now important that the plan submitted to have all reviews up to date by June 2018 is followed through on to the letter and that we can be sure that those vulnerable children in receipt of foster care are safe, healthy, and happy.”

Tusla’s 48-strong team is supported by a private agency which conducts some assessments but it struggles to cope with the 187 foster care households under its remit.

Inspectors judged the service seriously non-compliant with three of the eight standards surveyed. Inspectors say the recruitment of foster carers in the area, which caters for a population of over 300,000, is becoming more challenging and that there are not enough fosterers to meet needs.

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