Wednesday, 30 June 2021
Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
Children in Care
HIQA's proposed Draft National Standards for Children’s Social Services encompass foster care, residential care, special care, and child protection and welfare services. The current National Standards for Foster Care have been in place since 2003. It is important that standards are reviewed from time to time in order that they remain fit for purpose. It is also important that all stakeholders have confidence in them. The draft national standards are underpinned by four principles of human rights, safety and wellbeing, responsiveness and accountability. If approved it is HIQA's intention that they will replace the individual standards for each of the service functions currently in place for each sector.
Foster carers are an essential component to the care provided to children in state care and I am committed to ensuring their voice is heard in the development of new standards. My officials are actively engaged with HIQA on this issue.
New standards do not change existing legislation and therefore have no impact on any legal rights or duties of foster carers under the Child Care Acts, Children First legislation and guidance, or any new legislation under consideration. Legislation and regulations supersede standards in all sectors. Standards set out expectations for services and provide guidance for all parties in the delivery of services.
Following completion of the recent public consultation and drafting process HIQA will present the Draft National Standards for Children’s Social Services for consideration and approval by the Minister for Health and myself. The Standards must be accepted and approved by both Ministers before being implemented.