Foster care deficiencies highlighted

By Jamie Smyth

June 10, 2011 /

Continuing deficiencies in the foster care system are compromising the safety of children in care, the State-appointed health watchdog has warned.

The Health Information and Quality Authority said today foster parents are still not being adequately assessed, vetted and approved by the Health Service Executive. It also expressed serious concern about the "significant failure" of the executive to provide evidence that it is properly monitoring foster care placements.

The findings are based on a follow-up inspection under taken by the authority in February 2011. The inspection was undertaken to assess how the executive had responded to a damning report issued on its foster care system in July 2010.

In a report published today, the authority said the executive has implemented in full only one of 12 key recommendations that it made in last year's report. Two of the authority's recommendations have still not been implemented and nine of its recommendations have been partly met by the executive, according to the report.

"The inspection process highlighted continuing deficiencies in the HSE foster care service that may compromise the safety of some children and effectiveness of service delivery," concludes the authority's report.

The authority says "considerable improvement" is required in the implementation of many of the recommendations of this report.

These include:

- implementing the Children First: Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children

- developing national registers of children in foster care and their foster carers

- assigning every child and foster carer a social worker

- assessing and vetting of all foster carers

- assessing the needs of children with disabilities in foster care

- developing a care plan for all children in foster care.


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