TWO SEPARATE INSPECTION reports of foster care services in a number of counties have identified insufficient garda vetting as a problem.
The reviews were undertaken by the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) and looked at foster care in the Kerry and Galway/Roscommon regions.
These foster care services are the responsibility of Tusla – the Child and Family Agency.
In Kerry, Hiqa says there was no system in place to ensure that garda vetting was renewed for foster carers every three years. Furthermore, young people living in foster homes are not routinely garda vetted when they become adults.
The report also highlighted issues with the review of foster carers and pointed out that 40% of foster carers had not had a review in over three years.
In terms of the protection of children, the inspection report found that complaints and allegations were adequately responded to and that action was taken where appropriate.
In the Galway/Roscommon region, the report found that systems in place to obtain and update garda vetting requirements were “not reliable”.
“Two foster carers had been approved despite there being no vetting evident on their files and, in addition, not all adults living in foster homes had evidence on file of being garda vetted,” the report states.
As with the Kerry report, Hiqa found that reviews of foster carers were not carried out often enough. In the case of Galway/Roscommon, the report found that 25% of foster carers had not had a review in more than three years.
In the case of both reports, Hiqa notes that action plans have been submitted by Tusla that outline measures aimed at reversing the shortcomings.
“The areas identified for improvement in both reports are being actively progressed through comprehensive action plans,” Tusla’s service director Dermot Halpin said today.