Young people in residential care have a placement plan which sets out how they will have their needs and preferences met, including family contacts, hobbies, education and health issues. Included in the plan is an individual Crisis Management Plan.
This is based on an assessment of the young person’s potential behaviour during a crisis and what are the most effective ways to help the young person manage their behaviour. The plan is drawn up in conjunction with the young person.
The use of the Crisis Management Plan ensures that crisis behaviour is responded to appropriately and safely and that where a restrictive practice is needed it is kept to a minimum. An important part of the plan is a review, including the young person, of what triggered the event, the young person's experience of the restrictive practice and learning for the future. Young people in residential care centres are not subject to seclusion as a restrictive practice.
There are occasions where a child may be on their own or just with staff, but this does not mean that they are in seclusion. There may be circumstances when a child is continuously with staff and separated from other children in the Unit. This will be for a time limited period and in response to a specific behaviour incident.
Tulsa has a national policy on single separation for use in Special Care Units only. Special Care is where a child is detained by the High Court for their care and protection. Children in residential care are not detained.
This practice is used only when alternative interventions either have not worked, or are not suitable, and when single separation has been assessed as being the least harmful option to the child to avoid immediate risk or harm.
Tusla has provided me with the latest collated data available, which relates to March 2019. These data indicate that there were 14 children in Special Care and that 8 incidents of single separation or seclusion interventions were used in March.
Data on physical interventions or restraint for March 2019 show that there were 475 children in residential care, and that there were 69 interventions.
Physical interventions are used when all alternative procedures have been considered and every effort has been made to identify and alleviate the cause of the young person’s challenging behaviour.
The least restrictive procedure for the shortest duration necessary will always be used.