The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) this week published an overview report of inspection and regulation of children’s services in 2018.
The report provides insight into the quality and safety of services for children, including Oberstown Children Detention Campus. Regarding Oberstown, the report acknowledges the challenges of balancing sometimes conflicting demands of care and custody, and states that the organisation has demonstrated a commitment to improving its services to young people.
It states: “Oberstown has taken on board the many recommendations made in relation to the safe and effective delivery of its services, which came about as a result of a past period of instability and considerable change. While this campus houses children in a secure setting, it has and continues to progress its approaches to providing an environment within which children are encouraged and supported to leave its care in a positive way and to reintegrate successfully into their communities. Some of the challenges facing services which house young people who have been referred by the courts are evident in Oberstown, such as managing complex behaviours and high levels of need, and balancing the sometimes conflicting demands of providing care and custody.”
The report further notes: “Delivering a service of this complexity safely and effectively requires strong leadership, effective management systems and a competent and skilled workforce which, when combined, promotes the rights and safety of children and improves their outcomes, including redirecting them away from reoffending. In response to these challenges, Oberstown has brought about changes to its systems of governing and managing and has initiated a holistic approach to planning the care and education of children. For further progress, HIQA’s inspections have highlighted the need to ensure Oberstown’s systems of accountability and authority are fully embedded and sustained in day-to-day practice. This is particularly important in relation to the management of risk, use of restrictive practices and ultimately the promotion of children’s rights and safety.”
During 2019, HIQA’s focus of inspection will focus on programmes Oberstown has in place to tackle offending behaviour, the management of risk, use of restrictive practices and the promotion of children’s rights and safety.