Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs Anne Rabbitte TD has expressed her concerns following the recent publication of a HIQA report into Dublin South Central foster care services.
It has raised serious child protection issues in areas where there are 66,000 children.
Deputy Rabbitte commented:
It is very concerning to read this latest report from HIQA into foster care services in the Dublin South Central region. There were considerable child protection issues documented in the report which covers areas which are “very” or “extremely” disadvantaged. It is alarming that all these HIQA reports are raising similar problems.
There were nine foster care households in which a person over 16, not vetted by Gardaí, was residing in the house. This raises grave child protection issues. Most worryingly, there appears to be a regression in the overall quality of foster care services in this area. Children in foster care are the responsibility of the state and need to be protected by the state.
Deputy Rabbitte concluded:
Proper child protection safeguarding measures must be adhered to. This is a universal necessity. Children in foster care should be treated with the same care and attention than those attending local sports or community club.
The Minister must outline what she and her department are doing to address these serious deficiencies. As it stands, HIQA do not have the power to enforce the recommendations of its report and enquiries. The Minister must ensure the findings from this report are urgently investigated to protect those who are most vulnerable.