Children Social Care (Coronavirus) (Temporary Modification of Children’s Social Care) Regulations (NI) 2020
Read the Commission’s Children Social Care (Coronavirus) (Temporary Modification of Children’s Social Care) Regulations (NI) 2020.
Date produced May 2020.
Below is a summary of the recommendations contained in the report.
You can also download the full document through the links provided.
The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC):
- 1.6 recommends that the Department provides an analysis of the Child Protection Register figures and that it also sets out what additional measures are in place to meet increased demand.
- 1.18 taking into account responses elsewhere, recommends that the Department should clarify why legislation is necessary in Northern Ireland.
- 1.20 invites the Department to set out whether redeployment could be used to assist social services meet their statutory duties to children in care.
- 2.4 recommends that the Department provides the Committee with agreed periodic reports and statistics covering the application of these regulations. Decision makers should record instances of decisions made under these regulations and should provide evidence of their necessity in each instance.
- 2.6 recommends that the Committee is informed in advance of plans to amend the guidance.
- 2.7 recommends that the Department conducts robust children’s rights impact assessments for any further legislative and policy changes which relax statutory requirements.
- 3.6 recommends that the Committee asks the Department to confirm what steps are being taken by Trusts to ensure that children are able to speak freely during remote visits using IT and to supplement the existing guidance on this issue.
- 3.19 advises that consideration is given as to how to ensure that online inspections are thorough and independent.
- 3.20 advises that consideration is given as to how to ensure children can participate in remote inspections. The VOYPIC Independent Advocacy Service may perhaps be able to assist.
- 3.25 recommends that looked after children’s reviews are held at least every three months.
- 3.27 recommends that the Department outlines the measures it is taking to ensure that children in care are made aware they can request an earlier review.
- 3.30 recommends that the Department outline the measures it is taking to pro-actively ensure young people are aware they can request an earlier review.
- 3.35 advises that the focus should be on speeding up the process rather than removing safeguards.
- 3.36 recommends that the Department is asked to report on any instances of where an emergency placement is used for reasons not related to COVID-19. In addition, the Department should record and report instances cases where a person is exempted from the usual fostering limit of three children. Further, the Department should monitor and report on the use of unapproved foster placements throughout the pandemic.
- 3.41 urges the Department to commit to developing fostering legislation, the Looked After Children strategy and comprehensive updated foster care standards.
- 3.45 recommends that the Department of Health and Department of Justice should work together to implement the WHO Interim guidance and release all children from secure accommodation, where safe to do so.
- 3.48 notes the important role played by VOYPIC in the complaints process and encourages the Department to ensure the organisation is sufficiently funded.