Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children Robert Troy has described as “shocking and extremely worrying” a report by HIQA into the fostering service in the Dublin North East Region.
Deputy Troy commented: ‘This report from HIQA is very important and demands an immediate response from Minister Francis Fitzgerald.’
The report found that there were “serious deficits” with the foster care service in the Dublin North West Local Health Area and concluded that “not all foster carers took up training opportunities and most has not undergone reviews.” It also found that “116 children in foster care (32%) had only been assigned a designated social worker three weeks prior to inspection.”
Deputy Troy said: ‘One of the most serious findings in this report is that more than a third (35%) of foster carers did not have a link social worker to support them. This is extremely serious and underlines the Fianna Fáil position in the Children’s Referendum that legislative change alone would not be enough to support children and that any new legislation needed to be underpinned with the appropriate resources. It is clear that there are still not enough social workers in the system and Minister Fitzgerald is failing to address this.
‘This HIQA report has found that “there were a number of carers who were not deemed suitable for the task yet continued to have children in their care”. Quite frankly this is unbelievable and the Minister must urgently clarify why this remains the case and is this happening nationwide?
‘Another conclusion of the HIQA report was that “the child protection notification system (CPNS) was not in compliance with Children First” and that “the register for children in foster care was not up to date.” These are outrageous failings of governance in the foster care system and require an immediately response from Minister Fitzgerald.
Deputy Troy concluded: ‘I was surprised and very disappointed to see in the report that the educational outcomes for children were not recorded or monitored. If we are going to have a proper support structure in place for children we must be able to clearly indentify what’s happening at all levels, particularly education. I have consistently raised with Minister Fitzgerald the fact that she has taken her eye off the ball since the children’s referendum was passed. Almost every single initiative in the department is behind schedule and the Minister needs to show leadership and push through the necessary reforms and supports needed for children.’