Children placed with unapproved carers, report finds
Some vulnerable children are being placed with foster carers who are not assessed to meet their needs, social services inspectors have found.
A report by the Health Information and Quality Authority into foster care in the Louth area states that most children were placed with families who were caring and mindful of their needs.
But it found that some children ended up with foster carers who had not been approved and did not have the capacity and/or skills to meet their needs.
In addition, not all children preparing to leave care had been assessed and aftercare services were not readily available to them at a vulnerable time in their lives.
Overall, the authority’s inspector found that children were safe and lived with foster parents who were caring and mindful of their needs. Children interviewed by inspectors said they were generally happy and liked their foster carers.
However, the authority raised concerns that foster care households were not always vetted in a timely manner.
The report lists a number of areas where improvements should be made. They include ensuring there is robust vetting of adults in foster care households; a better resourced service that could meet the needs of all children; and better training of foster carers.
The inspection report, published yesterday, was based on inspections that took place between July and August last year.
In a separate inspection of foster services in the Dublin south-east area – which stretches from Sandymount to Sandyford – officials found that children received “supportive, safe and high-quality care” from their foster carers and social workers.
But inspectors warned that resources were stretched and staffing vacancies were affecting the service’s ability to meet the needs of all children.
While the moratorium on public sector recruitment does not apply to social workers, inspectors found there were 12 social work posts vacant in the area.
“Social workers on special leave had not been replaced, which placed additional strain on the teams,” it said.
As a result, a small number of children and foster carers did not have an assigned social worker and planning for aftercare services was deficient.