HSE put 10-year-old in home for older troubled children

The HSE has been criticised for housing a 10-year- old child in a home earmarked for older troubled children when its own national policy recommends placing children under 12 with families.

The twice-fostered child had spent eight months in the care centre when the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) inspected it in May.

Inspectors told the HSE they were concerned that a more “appropriate placement” had not been found.

When asked by the Irish Examiner yesterday if alternative accommodation had been found, the HSE said it followed up Hiqa report recommendations “in full”.

Hiqa was also critical that — despite the home’s stated function being to cater for 12-17 year olds for a maximum of 12 months — it was open to housing children aged 8-11.

Hiqa said this needed to be reviewed; it is contrary to national HSE policy.

The HSE was also criticised for a lack of monitoring of the home, which is in the Carlow/Kilkenny area.

The last monitoring report was carried out in February by an acting monitoring officer because the incumbent had retired. Hiqa said it was “unclear to inspectors how many monitoring visits there were in the preceding year”.

In a follow-up action plan, the HSE said a monitoring officer would be in the post by this month and the area manager would ensure standards were met in the interim.

Hiqa was also concerned that just one of the three in the centre at the time of inspection (aged 10, 14, and 15) was attending school. Two were not in any education programme.

Another concern was that at the time of inspection, the centre manager had been on leave for about 10 weeks.

Each week a different social care leader had been acting in the role of manager on a rota basis. The HSE said it would put an acting manager in place while the centre manager remained on leave.

On a positive note, Hiqa said the standard in relation to the care of young people was met.

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