Irish Penal Reform Trust

HIQA inspection report of Oberstown Children Detention Campus

10th October 2018

On Tuesday 9th October 2018, the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) published its report on an unannounced inspection of Oberstown Children Detention Campus undertaken in March 2018.

The report found significant improvements in a number of areas, particularly the area of health, including medication management. Relationships between staff and children, education, and a strong emphasis on participation and consultation with children continue to be positive aspects of the care provided at Oberstown. 

However, inspectors also found inadequate record-keeping on physical interventions used with children and the use of handcuffs on children within a secure environment. Although there had been a welcome reduction of 56% in the use of single separation, the number of incidences remains very high at 1,701 in 2017.

On publication of the HIQA inspection report of Oberstown Children Detention Campus, IPRT called for:

  1. Elevated action by Oberstown Campus management on the recording, analysis and oversight of restricted practices on campus, including the regular publication of data on the use of physical interventions and handcuffs.
  2. Urgent improvement in engagement by TUSLA with management and children at Oberstown, including the completion of the inter-agency communication protocol between TUSLA and the Campus and the appointment of a TUSLA representative to the Board of Oberstown.
  3. Progression of the evaluation of the pilot Bail Supervision Scheme, with a view to extending the scheme so that children who are in care are not excluded.

Further analysis of the report is included below.


HIQA inspectors assessed Oberstown against ten standards, and found:

  • 3 ‘compliant’: Education, Health, Purpose and Function
  • 2 ‘substantially compliant’: Children’s Rights; Child Protection
  • 5 ‘moderate non-compliance’: Care of Children; Planning for Children; Premises, Safety and Security; Dealing with Offending Behaviour; and Staffing and Management.

Of particular note is the significant improvement under the health standard, including medication management, from ‘major non-compliance’ at the time of the last inspection report in March 2017 to full compliance in March 2018.

The inspections were carried out over 5 days between 7th and 13th March 2018. The Inspectors engaged directly with 21 children and 8 parents.

The report is available here

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