That leave be granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to amend the Health Act 2007 to enable the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) to enforce national standards in relation to foster care provision, children detention schools, children residential centres and the Child and Family Agency (Tusla); and to provide for related matters.
I thank the Leas-Cheann Comhairle for allowing me the time to introduce the Bill, which has one simple aim, that is, to allow HIQA to enforce national standards for centres and bodies providing services under the Child Care Act 1991 and the Children Act 2001. At present, HIQA does not hold such powers. It does in regard to nursing homes, for example. The current position means that even where HIQA finds repeated incidents of non-compliance with national standards in foster care settings, it is powerless to enforce its recommendations. This has caused a number of issues in recent years, with service providers failing to upgrade their standards of care after HIQA has pointed out such shortfalls in their reviews. It is an obvious flaw in the system and one which has an easy fix. This is the thrust of the Bill. I am thankful for the opportunity to introduce it.