first_imgWaterford Childcare Committee Board members Rena Cody and Derek O’Byrne pictured with TÚSLA Area Manager Jim Gibson, Minister of Children and Youth Affairs Dr. James Reilly, TD, Mayor of Waterford City and County Councillor James Tobin, Ciara Conway, TD, Waterford City and County Manager Michael Walsh, Waterford Childcare Committee CEO Rose Murphy pictured at the “Working Together For Children” event at the Dunhill Multi-Education Centre, Dunhill – David Clynch PhotographyNo Garda checks on Limerick fosterers. TÚSLA Area Manager Jim Gibson. David Clynch – PhotographyCHILDREN in foster care in Limerick have been left at massive risk with 146 people either fostering or living with them who have not been approved by Gardaí.A report from HIQUA, the health services watchdog, highlighted significant shortfalls in the service, with 30 foster parents and 116 people over the age of 16 in foster homes that were not Garda vetted.Inspections also revealed that allegations of abuse or neglect were not being managed correctly and in a timely fashion, there was a shortfall in recruitment and therefore in the number of foster carers and no social workers allocated to support foster parents in many cases.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up The report states that “not all allegations were comprehensively assessed. There was a system for formally notifying the foster care committee of an allegation of abuse, but not all allegations were reported to the committee and those which were notified, were not notified in a timely way”.A team of eight inspectors visited foster homes in the Mid West last March and their findings showed three areas of major non-compliance. These were in relation to safeguarding and child protection; supervision and support and reviews of foster carers”.The report states that inspectors also found major problems with supervision and support. 30 general and six relative foster carers had no social worker assigned to them, while the majority had not received the recommended formal supervision.“There were seven foster care households without a link worker who also had children who were without an allocated social worker, which posed a significant risk. The frequency of home visits to these foster carers was insufficient.“Where foster carers were allocated a social worker, there was not a sufficient level of home visits to ensure supervision and support to foster carers. Records of discussions between foster carers and social workers following home visits were of mixed quality. There was no out-of-hours service available to meet the needs of foster carers.”Crucially, the report discovered that the majority of reviews “did not contain evidence that the views of the child were sought”.In response to a query from the Limerick Post as to whether Gardaí vetting was completed in the six months since the report was published, a spokesperson for TUSLA said: “Garda vetting is actively being progressed for foster carers and those over 16, where necessary. Additionally, there is a system in place to alert staff when updated Garda vetting is due”.Tusla chief operations officer Jim Gibson said that HIQA inspection reports were an important measurement tool and allowed them ensure that their services were continuously improving and were of a high standard.“The report highlighted excellent practice in areas such as training and the quality of assessments of foster carers. There were also a number of areas that require improvement such as supervision and the timeliness of reviews. These areas are being actively addressed through a comprehensive action plan which has been submitted to HIQA.“The actions in the action plan will be closely linked to Tusla’s major transformation programme which will enhance many aspects of the agency, including organisational culture, HR strategy, governance systems, and further corporate functions.” When the Limerick Post contacted HIQUA, a spokesperson could not say whether Garda vetting had taken place in the six months since the inspections.Limerick Labour Party TD Jan O’Sullivan said the report raised serious concerns.“I am particularly concerned that there was no Garda vetting of family members in many cases. It is just not acceptable that vulnerable children are living in homes where no Garda vetting has been carried out on people living in that household.She said the report confirmed the acute shortage of social workers which was an issue she has been campaigning on.“There is an urgent need to recruit more social workers and to put measures in place to retain those already in the service. As well as a shortage of social workers, there is also a shortage of foster carers in the Mid-West.”Deputy O’Sullivan added that “while it is encouraging that an action plan has been put in place and we are fortunate to have so many dedicated and caring foster families, it is essential that the issues of vetting and shortage of social workers are given urgent attention”.Visit the Limerick Post News section for similar news. Linkedin Print Previous articleLimerick public transport to drive anti-racism messageNext articleLimerick Rose Kayleigh Maher makes finals Bernie Englishhttp://www.limerickpost.ieBernie English has been working as a journalist in national and local media for more than thirty years. She worked as a staff journalist with the Irish Press and Evening Press before moving to Clare. She has worked as a freelance for all of the national newspaper titles and a staff journalist in Limerick, helping to launch the Limerick edition of The Evening Echo. Bernie was involved in the launch of The Clare People where she was responsible for business and industry news. Email NewsNo Garda checks on Limerick fosterersBy Bernie English – August 18, 2017 1353 center_img Twitter WhatsApp Facebook Advertisementlast_img read more


first_imgMembers of the European Union’s Election Observation Mission respond to questions from reporters, during a press conference in Georgetown Guyana. GEORGETOWN, Guyana, (CMC) – The European Union’s (EU) Election Observation Mission (EOM) has indicated its commitment to ensuring transparency and accountability in Guyana’s general and regional elections, to be held on March 2.During a media conference on February 6, EU EOM Chief Observer, Urmas Paet, stated that the mission’s mandate is to observe all aspects of the electoral process.“The presence of the EU EOM demonstrates the EU’s commitment to the conduct of inclusive, transparent and credible elections in Guyana,” Paet said, noting that the observation not only focuses on election day, but also “on the entire electoral process, including the campaigning, the results and the resolution of any election-related dispute, after voting has finished”.The Chief Observer emphasised that the mission will be impartial in its findings and conclusions.“The Mission is independent in its findings and conclusions, and EU observers adhere to a strict code of conduct of international observers that requires strict neutrality and impartiality in the course of their work, and do not interfere in the electoral process,” Paet stated.This is the largest EU EOM mission, which will comprise almost 50 observers. It includes a core team of nine analysts and 14 long-term observers, deployed to the 10 administrative regions. Twenty short-term observers will join the team, shortly before the March elections.The mission was deployed to Guyana, following an invitation from President, David Granger.The EU EOM uses the following criteria during its observation of an electoral process: the degree of freedom of political parties and candidates to assemble and express their views; the degree of impartiality shown by the election administration; the fairness of access to state resources during the election; the universal franchise afforded to voters; the degree of access for political parties and candidates to the media, in particular, the state media; the conduct of polling, counting and tabulation of votes; other issues related to the democratic nature of the election (e.g. legal framework; campaign violence; rule of law; and campaign finance).On March 4, the EU EOM will issue a preliminary statement, which will be followed by an official statement, which will include the mission’s observations and recommendations, two months after the General and Regional Elections are conducted.last_img read more