Such was the level of chaos at one of the country’s non-HSE-run children’s homes that following an onsite inspection, a social work team decided to terminate the placement of one child as it was believed the young person was at “no greater risk at home with their family of origin as when placed in the centre”.
The 2011 inspection, comp-leted by the HSE’s Registration and Inspection Service, revealed that in one home, two of the four children were missing at the time of inspection — without explanation.
An “inappropriate relationship” between three of the young people had also been discovered at one point last year.
It then emerged that the centre management had been alerted to this possibility from a previous placement but had never told social workers.
Families had also repeatedly warned of their children’s “at risk” behaviour and this wasn’t addressed by management.
The inspectors reported:
* There was a “near disclosure of abuse” by one child but this wasn’t fed by the manager to HSE child protection teams. Gardaí were also investigating a child protection incident involving two of the children listed as living at the home.
* Safeguarding, child protection, and planning for children and young people were significantly below par and there was a complete absence of placement plans. It also found a “lack of consistency” around staffing which was “not in the best interests of children who have already experienced loss, trauma, adversity, and a lack of primary carers and attachment figures in their lives”.
* Not all staff have Garda vetting, the necessary foreign police clearance, and the required three references.
The inspection team also discovered during interviews with social workers that “most of the social workers are highly dissatisfied that the placement is not meeting the needs of any of the young people placed in the centre”.
Yet at that point despite their grievances, only one social worker had removed their child from the home.
Ultimately, the inspection team decided, after management failed to remedy the enormous breaches in care, that the centre would not be re-registered.
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