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“HIQA has developed new standards to ensure that children receive the best possible care and support while they live in care,” said Ms Rachel Flynn, HIQA’s Director of Health Information and Standards.
Over 400 children live in children’s residential centres in Ireland. These centres are homes for children who come into care to ensure their needs are met when they cannot live with their own family.
“The standards show children what to expect when they live in residential care and show those involved in their care what a child-centred, safe and effective children’s residential centre should look like,” continued Ms Flynn.
“The standards detail how centres and the people who work with children in residential care can ensure each child gets the care and support they need, that they are listened to, that their rights are protected and promoted and that they are involved in making decisions about their lives both while they are in care and when they are moving on from care.”
According to HIQA the national standards were developed based on international best practice and the views and feedback of children with experience of living in care, their families, the people involved in caring for them, advocacy groups and government bodies.
“As living in care can be a confusing and difficult time for children, HIQA has also developed a new guide called ‘Your guide to children’s residential care to support children and their families to understand what living in care is like’. The guide covers key areas such as children’s rights, the roles of staff members who care for them, their files and how they are supported to prepare to leave care,” said Ms Flynn.
The national standards, which replace the previous 2001 standards, have been approved by the Minister for Health in consultation with the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, and apply to all children’s residential centres.