The State's children and families services will be subject to independent inspection and monitoring for the first time.

The Health Information and Quality Authority said its new inspection regime is aimed at radically strengthening and improving Ireland's child protection and welfare services.

The monitoring programme will carry out announced and unannounced inspections of 32 local health areas.

A team of 12 specific children's inspectors will carry out inspections of the HSE Children and Family Services to check if they are in compliance with both Children First and the National Standards for the Protection and Welfare of Children.

These two bodies require that elements are in place to safeguard children and young people.

They will also establish whether a failure to have these elements in place poses a serious risk to the children receiving such services

HIQA said that at this point it has already carried out one full inspection in one region.

It said a report is due to be published a month's time.