The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) inspects children’s residential care services provided by Tusla, monitoring these settings against the National Standards for Children’s Residential Services, and relevant regulations.
Where a children's residential centre is not operated directly by Tusla but by a voluntary organisation or private agency, Tusla are currently responsible for that centre's monitoring and registration.
My officials have been working with Tusla and HIQA to draft new regulations which will give HIQA responsibility for the registration and inspection of private and voluntary centres in addition to Tusla-operated centres.
This will require the designation of such private and voluntary centres as "designated centres" under the Health Act 2007.
Before the inspection and registration functions can be transferred to HIQA, it will be necessary to amend the Health Act 2007 so as to allow for temporary registration of designated centres. This is essential to maintain Tusla's flexibility in providing appropriate placements for children placed in emergency situations. (Such placements can be accommodated under the Child Care Act 1991 at present.) Work is ongoing in the Department of Health to draft this amendment.
It is not possible at this time to put a timeline on when this will take place.