Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children & Youth Affairs Anne Rabbitte has expressed concern at the findings of recent HIQA reports on foster care services in the Galway/Roscommon and Kerry service areas.

“These reports looked at specific services in the foster care area but worryingly, these services were found to be lacking and non-compliant with best practice in half of the areas examined.  This is extremely worrying”, said Deputy Rabbitte.

“These issues relate to the most basic of care functions. For example, in the Galway/Roscommon area, there were consistent problems with the systems for Garda vetting and the review of foster care placements.

“Similar issues were found in the Kerry service area, where up to 40% of carers had not had a review in over three years. These reviews are vital to ensuring that fostering is a positive experience.  They ensure that foster parents and children have an opportunity to raise questions or issues that they have, and they provide a forum for social care workers to brief foster families on changes to training, vetting, etc.

“These are an essential part of the foster care service, and the fact that these meetings are not taking place as regularly as they should be is a very worrying development.

“Minister Zappone needs to get real about the endemic issues facing the child protection services in this country. The reality is that thousands of children, parents, and carers rely on Tusla to create and sustain a nourishing, healthy home environment, so these issues must be addressed”.