Between 21st and 30th November 2011, The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) carried out detailed inspections of the three Children Detention Schools on the Oberstown Campus in Lusk.
Below is a summary of some of the main recommendations:
- The inspectors found that the majority of young people in the schools had very little faith in the complaints system, and this was due in large part to the fact that only a small number of complaints over the previous 18 months were upheld. They recommended that the reasons for such a low proportion of successful complaints should be investigated.
- Concerns were also raised over the use of separation and protection rooms. It would seem that the use of these rooms has been, at different times, too frequent. This seems to correspond with occasions where staffing levels were particularly low for various reasons. The procedures for use of the rooms should be reviewed, and all instances should be recorded fully.
- Low staffing levels at different times has also impacted the opportunities for the children and young people to engage in outdoor activities. The inspectors recommended that there should be regular outdoor activity. Related to this is a recommendation that staff should be deployed effectively in order to meet the needs of children in all three of the schools.
- The inspectors were concerned that not all child protection concerns had been reported to the local HSE Child Care Manager, as should be the procedure, and recommended that this be rectified as soon as possible.
- The level of privacy afforded to the young people should be examined. Trinity House has been refurbished to provide bathrooms in each room. The young people there reported that this had a positive effect on their feeling of independence and privacy. This should be replicated in the Boys’ School.
- The young people should be formally consulted about food available on the menu, and their preferences should actively be taken into consideration.
The full inspection report can be accessed here.