Thursday, 28 March 2019

Questions (28)

Clare Daly

Question:

28. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she is satisfied that the non-publication of a report is in the best interests of the children in view of the fact that the authors of the report (details supplied) made a safeguarding referral during their visit to Oberstown Children Detention Campus on the basis of child welfare concerns. [14445/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

I am advised by Oberstown Children Detention Campus that prior to the visit by the reviewers to the Campus, they were advised about what action should be taken, should any child protection or welfare issues arise during their time there. This is in line with standard procedures in such circumstances. The Reviewers were advised to notify the Director of any such issues that they became aware of. During their visit, the reviewers became aware of an incident and met with the Director to notify him. The Director advised them that he was aware of the incident and a process was already underway to deal with the matter.

The Deputy will be aware of the extensive discussion on the Operational Review took place at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children on 30 January last. At that meeting, the Chair of the Board of Oberstown, Professor Ursula Kilkelly, gave a detailed update on the current situation. She outlined, among other things the serious legal difficulties associated with publishing the full report, for reasons which have been well set out on a number of occasions.

The Deputy will also be aware that I also met with the Joint Committee on the matter on 18 December last.

I would reiterate that the recommendations of the Operational Review, which are at the kernel of how we move forward, were published in July 2017 and are being implemented as part of a significant package of reform in Oberstown.

In addition to the Operational Review, the Board commissioned a number of other reports at the same time, with a view to engaging external expertise to support the development of the Campus. These reviews included security, health and safety and behaviour management.

Deputies will recall that I established a Review Implementation Group whose final report, received in December 2017, produced a coherent plan to implement the recommendations of the various reports.

An updated Action Plan from the Review Implementation Group was completed in May 2018 and was published on my Department’s website. My Department continues to monitor the Review Implementation Group and the second report on the implementation of the recommendations was published on 29 January last.

My focus continues to be on ensuring that all of the key recommendations are implemented and to ensure that Oberstown observes best practice and international standards. I believe that this is the best way forward for the young people at the campus.