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Statement by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs on the publication of the HIQA report into Oberstown 2019

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone TD, today welcomed the most recent inspection report from the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) into the Oberstown Children Detention Campus (Oberstown). HIQA conducted the announced inspection over three days, 16 – 18 July, 2019 (inclusive).

Overall this is a very positive report on the progress that has been made, and continues to be made, on the Oberstown Campus. The Minister noted the many areas of improvement and expressed her thanks to the Director, local management and staff of the Campus. The Minister also conveyed her thanks to the Chair and members of the Board of Management, for driving the changes over the past few years.  She also commended them for their strong commitment to a culture of continuous improvement as highlighted by the HIQA report.


The Minister commented that: “I am particularly pleased to note some of the very positive comments by the young people resident in Oberstown especially where young people told inspectors that they felt safe in Oberstown. That the staff treated them fairly and they were well looked after, and when issues arose or incidents occurred for them, staff provided them with support to try to avoid periods of single separation or restraint.”


This inspection was conducted under two main areas:


1)      capacity and capability of the service which focused specifically on leadership, governance and management arrangements in place for the use of restrictive procedures and the delivery of offending behaviour programmes; and

2)      In the area of quality and safety of the service which focused specifically on the quality and safety of day-to-day practice, and children’s experience of the use of restrictive procedures and the supports in place for children to break cycles of offending behaviour.

While very positive overall, HIQA has identified a small number of areas where improvement is necessary.  These areas will be dealt with as outlined in the Action Plan which forms part of the report. They will be dealt with over the coming months and will include a review of staff supervision, as well as an overarching campus policy in relation to restrictive procedures with the aim to further reduce the use of restrictive practices and ensure there is oversight and systems monitoring.


The Minister concluded: “I welcome the on-going robust inspection process provided by HIQA in relation to Oberstown. I am pleased to see the number of positive developments reported by HIQA. The Action Plan attached to the report outlines the actions that will be taken by Oberstown to address the issues raised in the report and I note that these will all be progressed in a timely manner over the coming months.”