I am aware of the report in October of a sick child in an accommodation centre for whom food was not available following a request. I am informed that this was an isolated incident, but nevertheless, it is highly regrettable. The Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) addressed this incident with the contractor at the time. The manager of the centre concerned met with and apologised to the family and RIA undertook to provide additional training to staff in the centre in question.
RIA requires that all direct provision centre staff and management have regard to the best interests of the child in service delivery.
All centres under contract to RIA are required to uphold the principles of Children First and to adhere to RIA's Child Protection and Welfare Policy. The Policy states that "The safety and wellbeing of all residents, but particularly children, is our paramount concern. This Policy recognises that all children have the right to be protected from harm, treated with respect, listened to and have their views taken into consideration. This Policy recognises that RIA and centres under contract have a duty of care to all residents". This is the standard that all centre staff and management must meet when providing services to children and their families.
The remit of the Ombudsman for Children has been extended to enable him to investigate complaints relating to the treatment of children in direct provision centres.