HIQA has found that four out of five foster carers in Tusla's North Dublin Area have not been reviewed within the required three years, while 14% did not have their Garda vetting updated in the same period.

The Health Information and Quality Authority said the Child and Family Agency's recruitment of foster carers is becoming more challenging in the area and there are not enough fosterers to meet the service's needs.

Tusla's North Dublin Area includes all of Fingal County, and serves over one-third of a million people.

It encompasses Coolock, Darndale, Edenmore, Kilbarrack, and Donaghmede.

Its 48-eight strong Tusla fostering team is helped by a private foster care agency which conducts some assessments.

At the time of last April's inspection, just over a third of its 187 foster care households were related to their foster children.

Inspectors judged the service seriously non-compliant with three of the eight standards surveyed.

Among the findings were:

  • Four out of five foster carers had not been reviewed within the required three years
  • There were significant delays in assessing and approving relative carers who already  had children placed with them for a considerable period of time and there was no system in place to track the progress of these assessments.
  • Garda vetting of one in seven foster cares had not being updated for more than three years. One of the files reviewed showed that in one household, such vetting had not been completed for three adult residents.
  • There were inadequate arrangements to ensure that foster carers who had not been allocated a social worker had received child safeguarding visits.

Among the positive findings was that the area took appropriate action to protect foster children in the wake of child protection allegations against their carers.

Inspectors say the recruitment of foster carers in the area is becoming more challenging and that there are not enough fosterers to meet the service's needs.