The Ombudsman for Children has found the HSE failed children in residential care homes by allowing them to remain open when it should have known their owners were breaking the law.
Niall Muldoon expressed concern that children in the centres may not be receiving the required care, as a result of inconsistencies and discrepancies in some voluntarily and privately run homes.
It follows an investigation carried out between January 2012 and August 2013.
Ombudsman Niall Muldoon said the investigation recommended that the inspection of the centres should be transferred to HIQA immediately.
He said: "The idea is that a centre that is registered is supposed to get an inspection within six months, we found situations where it could go out as far as 14 months.
"So in a centre which has new children in them, if something has been going wrong in the early stages you would like to fix it fairly quickly, but those inspections were not happening."