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Ombudsman Criticises Residential Care Homes for Children

Posted: August 10th, 2015

The critical comments, which claimed that children in residential care homes are put in a “vulnerable situation”, were made by the Ombudsman for Children whilst on national television.

Niall Muldoon, the Ombudsman for Children, was interviewed as part of RTE1’s “Morning Ireland” programme earlier this week when he criticised the HSE’s Child and Family Service (“TUSLA). During the programme, he claimed that the scheme was allowing both voluntary and private residential homes for children to continue running, despite evidence that those who ran them were breaching regulations.

The Ombudsman said that the shortage of staff at TUSLA was largely to blame for the “inconsistencies and discrepancies” across the country. He said that his office conducted their own investigation, which uncovered that there was often a fourteen month delay after registration for an investigation. Muldoon said that it was this delay that caused children in the homes to be put in a “vulnerable situation”.

Mr Muldoon went on the explain that the inconsistencies were a result of the HSE having four different regions that grew over two decades. Each separate regions have its own regulations and procedures, which means that the standards across the different regions varies. This concerns the Ombudsman, who says that his office would like to see the same standards across the country.

The Ombudsman has initiated proposals with TUSLA that aims to amalgamate the body into the Health and Information and Quality Authority (HIQA, who currently monitor state-run residential care homes). They hope that the agency will be independent, in line with recommendations made by the 2009 Ryan Report.

Brian Lee, TUSLA’s Director of Quality Assurance, spoke later on RTE’s News at One, saying 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 Claims

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