An inspection report into Oberstown detention school found that children there were “not always safe” and it appeared to be understaffed, with this and other factors contributing to “poor morale”.
The three-day inspection was carried out by Hiqa three months ago.
While it found examples of good practice, it identified a number of issues on the campus, which comprises Trinity House School, Oberstown Boys’ School, and Oberstown Girls’ School.
One involved an individual crisis management plan in which a child was handcuffed while being restrained, with a reference made to the young person’s physical strength in the record.
The head of care said handcuffs should not be used within the campus.
The inspection also found “not all restrictive practices were used as a last resort” and for as short a time as possible. Instead, in the 12 months prior to the inspection, there were 758 occasions when children were on their own in their bedrooms, protection rooms, or other rooms.
One child was locked into a room for 83 hours and 45 minutes, over a four-day period, including “sleeping hours”.
Hiqa said it was satisfied management had responded to many of the concerns raised in the report.