A CHILDREN’S Service Monitoring Report, conducted by Tusla in the Waterford area, found there were five areas for improvement at a residential service for children, including the resumption of significant event reviews and enhanced staff report.
Documents released to the Waterford News & Star under the Freedom of Information Act showed the premises in the Waterford area at one point became “unsafe for all young people for a sustained period” due to “high risk behaviours and challenging group dynamics”.
The centre provided medium to long-term care for up to four young people between the ages of 13 and 17. At the time of the monitoring report, four young people were living at the centre.
The monitoring visit took place on November 11, 2020, and called for improvements in the collective risk assessment process which was deemed not adequate.
A previous inspection by HIQA in 2018 made nine recommendations for improvement at the centre. At the time of the Tusla monitoring audit in 2020, several of the actions were complete and two were in progress.
They were; the premises required development, and there was no formal on-call system to ensure that staff could contact a manager outside of normal working hours.
Both matters remained “under consideration” and the social care manager was informed by Tusla that the quality assurance officer should be kept up to date on any developments.
However, Tusla noted that the development of the premises was “interrupted because of the Covid-19 crisis”.
Staffing levels at the centre had also been directly impacted by the crisis.
Due to the inadequate staffing levels and the level of risk, the centre embedded management and safeguarding systems that were previously in place such as a significant event review group (SERG) were not in place at the time of the monitoring audit.
The areas Tusla deemed necessary for improvement included the recording and resumption of operational systems in the centre as a priority. This specifically includes handover records, supervision and supervision records.
Reflective learning and enhanced staff support processes needed to be put in place to assist “the management of behaviours that challenge to keep staff and young people safe.”
Tusla said the collective risk assessment element of the centre’s admission process should be subject to a written review and that the social care manager should prioritise the resumption of significant event reviews and prioritise the resumption of staff meetings.
The centre’s response included a number of actions it planned to take to resolve the issues, such as resuming handovers and relevant records by December 7, 2020.
A second social care leader was assigned supervision tasks and a third social care leader returned to work in the centre, both adding to the pool of available supervisors.
A supervision audit is to be completed by the Deputy Regional Manager by the end of May 2021 and the centre will be subject to a further visit in early 2021 to monitor its progress.