Oberstown: Comprehensive IT system for case management 'remains outstanding'

Oberstown: Comprehensive IT system for case management 'remains outstanding'
Oberstown Children Detention Campus in Dublin. File Picture: Collins Dublin.

Ireland’s only children’s detention centre still does not have a comprehensive computerised case management system.

The Oberstown Children Detention Campus in Dublin holds young people who are sentenced or remanded by the courts.

The centre aims to have effective IT systems to improve case management, information sharing, and access data for decision making. However, according to Oberstown’s 2019 report, it "remains outstanding". 

The report also identifies an ongoing review of restrictive policies. It said alternative approaches has resulted in a reduction in physical interventions and single separation.

Oberstown is authorised to accommodate 48 boys and six girls at any single point in time. Throughout 2019, there were 127 young people detained in the centre. 

Many of the young people referred to Oberstown by the courts have experienced profound loss and disadvantage in their lives that is often associated with their offending behaviour.

Last year, 77 "concerns" about the welfare and protection of young people were referred to the centre’s designated liaison person. 

It emerged that 62 concerns related to matters that occurred before the young person was placed on remand or detention in Oberstown. Overall, 32 concerns met the referral threshold set down by Children First and they were forwarded to Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. Four related to the time when the young person was on detention in Oberstown.

Over the year, there was a 50% increase in offending behaviour programmes offered to young people, with 51 completing one or more of these interventions.

One of the courses challenges young people to face the harm they have caused and consider how they can put things right. Last year 12 children undertook the course and 10 completed it.

Additionally, the report noted 41% of youths resident in its campus experience mental health issues, and 57% were not in the education system before they went into the detention centre. More than 70% of children detained in Oberstown were considered to have a problem with substance misuse, according to the report. 

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