Child Safeguarding Statement

1. Name and nature of Service.

Foster Care Ireland (FCI) provides foster care families for children who cannot be cared for by their own families.

2. Principles to safeguard children from harm.

The key child safeguarding principles in our policies and procedures are:

● Children’s needs and safe care are the priority of all in the service.
● Staff are appropriately qualified, vetted, motivated and supervised to
ensure safe care is provided.
● Foster carers are vetted, assessed and supported in compliance with
all statutory requirements.
● FCI strives to make an effective match between carers and the needs
of the child/ren being considered for placement.
● Each placement is subject to a risk assessment at commencement and
action is taken to mitigate and manage those risks.
● The safe care of children is reviewed on a continuing basis and the
currency of all checks is maintained.
● Foster Care Ireland works in partnership with Tusla, the Child and
Family Agency, to support the children in its care. Any deficit in that
partnership constitutes a risk that must be escalated for mitigation.
● FCI recognises its legal and ethical duty to safeguard the welfare of
children and to protect children from harm and to respond where there
are concerns that a child is, or may be at risk of, suffering from harm.
● FCI operates an on-call service 24/7 to support foster carers out of
hours in the management of issues related to the child in care.
● Placements are subject to a Placement Plan, the child’s Care Plan and
an Absence Management Plan.

3. Risk assessment

We assess the risk and potential for harm* to a child while availing of our
service. FCI has a Risk Assessment policy and procedure for every child placed in its care. The following factors are part of that assessment, which is both initial and ongoing.

Risk identified  & Procedures in place to manage risk.

Risk of harm to a child by a member of staff :

● All staff are required to be Garda Vetted and suitable references provided on appointment.

● CORU registration is a requirement for link social workers.

● All staff are provided with professional supervision.

Risk of abuse by siblings :

● Information about sibling relationships is provided at referral and risks are identified.
● Risk assessment is completed at placement and managed throughout the placement.
● Foster carers report incidents which indicate heightened risk if previous risk was not known. These reports are sent to the child’s social worker.
● Strategies are put in place to reduce and manage identified risk, e.g. behaviour management, therapeutic input, separation.

Risk of abuse from other children in care :

● FCI seeks to place one child or sibling group per foster family.
● Matching considerations for children referred will take into account the needs and risk assessment of other children placed with the family.
● The social worker for other children in the placement is to be consulted.

Risk of bullying at school from CIC status :

● Foster carers report incidents of bullying directly to the school and to the child’s social worker.
● Foster parents maintain an active relationship with the school.

Risk of harm within the
context of access such as
abduction or sexual abuse :

● FCI implements the Missing in Care
protocols, and has an Absence Management
Plan for each placement that is agreed at the
point of placement.
● FCI works with Tusla to ensure appropriate

levels of supervision are in place for access:

● FCI reports any incidents of sexual abuse to
Tusla, including any verbal references of an
inappropriate nature.
● FCI has guidelines in place for staff who may
be supervising access to ensure children are

Risk of harm within the
community and children
suffering emotional harm
when identified by peers as
“fostered” :

● Foster carers maintain levels of supervision
dependent on the age and emotional needs
of the child.
● Foster carers support children in their
community engagement.
● Foster carers encourage self-esteem and
provide emotional support.

The additional areas of risk and the list of procedures for managing them are:

Risk identified & Procedures in place to manage risk.

Risk of *harm to the child in
a foster placement :

● Foster families are assessed and vetted to ensure
there is no history of harming children.
● Foster families are visited and supervised by FCI’s
link social worker on a regular basis.
● Unannounced visits to foster families occur.
● Foster families are encouraged to raise and discuss
any matter of concern relating to the child’s needs
and their ability to meet them.
● The child’s social worker maintains regular contact
with the child.
● Foster families consider all risks (including H&S)
regarding the safe caring of a child and develop a
Safe Care Policy for the placement.
● Complaints, serious concerns and allegations of
harm are investigated in conjunction with Tusla,
and learning and outcomes shared with carers and
the service.

Child being harmed during
contact with their own
family, or an any setting
outside of the foster family:

Foster Care Ireland’s foster carers and staff are mandated
persons who follow required procedures to report
actual or potential harm of a child to Tusla through
FCI’s Designated Liaison Person.
*Harm is defined by Section 11 (1) (a) of the Children First Act 2015 as:
“harm means in relation to a child:

Assault, ill-treatment or neglect of the child in a manner that seriously affects or is likely to
affect the child’s health, development or welfare, or
Sexual abuse of the child,
whether caused by a single act, omission or circumstance or a series or combination of acts,
omissions or circumstances or otherwise.”

4. Procedures.

Our Child Safeguarding Statement has been developed in line with
requirements under:
National Standards for Foster Care 2003
Children Act 1991, 2001 Foster Care Regulations 1995
Children First Act 2015
Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children
Data Protection Act 2004
Foster Care Committee – Policy, Procedures and Best Practice Guidance,
Tusla 2017
Other recent relevant legislation such as GDPR and policy guidance.
In addition to the procedures listed in our risk assessment, the following
procedures support our intention to safeguard children while they are availing
of our service:
● Procedures for the management of allegations of abuse, misconduct or
serious concerns against employees and foster carers of a child
availing of our service.
● Procedure for the safe recruitment and selection of employees and
foster carers.
● Procedure for provision of and access to child safeguarding training
and information, including the identification of the occurrence of harm.
● Procedure for the reporting of child protection or welfare concerns to
● Procedure for the maintaining of a list of persons who are mandated
● Procedure for appointing a relevant Designated Liaison Person.
● Regular completion of returns to Tusla DNC relating to “Safeguarding
All procedures listed are available upon request.

5. Implementation.

We recognise that implementation is an ongoing process and this updated
statement has been furnished to staff. It will be formally noted at the next
meeting of the Board of Management on 26th September 2018.

It is to be fully reflected in the next edition of FCI’s “Foster Carers Handbook
“and will be integrated into our ongoing training programme for new and
existing foster carers.
Our service is committed to the implementation of this Child Safeguarding
Statement and the procedures that support our intention to keep children safe
from harm whilst availing of our service.
This Child Safeguarding Statement will be reviewed on 26th

September 2018,
and again as a soon as practicable after there has been any material change
in any matter to which the statement refers.
The requirement make it more generally available will be met through
placement on FCI’s website.

David Taylor,
CEO and Chair of the Board of Management
Foster Care Ireland
326 Swords Road
Dublin 9
PH: 01 444 3444
For queries, please contact Nova Fariss, Head of Service.
(Relevant Person under the Children First Act 2015)
Amended 23rd August 2018