The Irish Mirror has alleged that the HSE Child and Family Agency – TUSLA – is delaying investigations in to residential care child abuse claims.
The Irish Mirror´s allegations are based on details the newspaper has received relating to complaints made to the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) and the length of time it has taken TUSLA to resolve them.
HIQA does not have the statutory authority to investigate allegations of poor standards in private and voluntarily run care home and foster homes, and consequently it is the role of TUSLA to investigate residential care child abuse claims in such cases.
The residential care child abuse claims published by the newspaper reveal an alarming catalogue of neglect and a failure in the duty of care owed to children by the homes in which they are placed. They also reveal how the HSE´s Child and Family Agency is also failing in its duty of care.
In one scenario published by the Irish Mirror, it took eighty days for the agency to respond to a series of communications initiated by a concerned grandparent. In another scenario it was only following the intervention of Gardai that a social worker was removed from her post.
Other examples of residential child abuse claims that were referred to HIQA after failing to be investigated by TUSLA included allegations of physical and sexual abuse of two children in foster care in Wexford and allegations of bullying and sexual abuse at a children´s residential centre in Waterford
HIQA received residential care child abuse claims at a rate of more than one a week between 2012 and 2014, prompting Fianna Fail’s spokesman for children – Robert Troy – to claim that TUSLA was in “dereliction of duty”.
A spokesperson for TUSLA told the Irish Mirror: “[TUSLA] takes complaints from every source very seriously. All complaints are looked into within 30 working days. In the event that it takes longer, TUSLA keeps the complainant updated on a regular basis”.