Irish Penal Reform Trust

HIQA Inspection Report on Oberstown Children's Detention Campus (2020)

18th March 2021

The unannounced inspection took place between 8 – 10 December 2020 and focused on staff supervision, young people’s rights, and planning for their care. Of the three assessed standards, two were found to be substantially compliant and one was considered compliant.

Over the course of the inspection, inspectors met and talked with 11 children about their understanding of their rights whilst placed in the service, and asked them their views on how they felt their rights were being promoted.

Despite the inspection taking place during a period of COVID-19 restrictions, there is no reflection of the impact of COVID-19 on the operation of Oberstown or on the lives of the young people, apart from one mention of “not having visitors is really hard”. Further inspection and oversight is needed while COVID-19 related restrictions are in place, across different standards, in order to support the safeguarding of the rights of the young people in Oberstown.

Management and Staffing

Overall, the inspection found that there were improvements in the centre since the last inspection conducted. Moreover, the provision of supervision had significantly improved and the staff and managers who engaged with the inspection valued the process as a supportive mechanism and saw it as an opportunity for accountability for good practice.

Planned Care

The inspection found that it was evident that a multidisciplinary and multiagency approach was taken to planning, and this was found to greatly benefit those who were previously known to the care system. Furthermore, it was evident that the campus continued to consult with young people, their families and other professionals in the development of these care plans.

Children’s Rights

The rights of young people, as per the standards, were assessed and it was found that the young people who met with inspectors were generally satisfied that their rights were being met. While it was noted that life in a secure environment has its limitations and complexities, the inspection found that the campus made considerable efforts to give young people a voice, not only in relation to their care, but also in the various operations of the campus. Moreover, the inspection found that there were good systems in place to advocate for young people, and external independent advocates were welcomed to the campus to engage directly with the young people and hear their stories.

In conclusion, the inspection noted that, despite such positive findings, the quality of records in Oberstown require improvement which has been a consistent finding of previous inspections conducted. Therefore, more is needed to ensure these records fully reflected practice, the implementation of policy and procedure, and how people were held to account for their areas of responsibility.

Read the HIQA Report of Oberstown Children’s Campus here.

Respect for rights in the penal system with prison as a last resort.



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