A Health Information and Quality Authority inspection report for child protection and welfare services in Carlow, Kilkenny and south Tipperary has found five major non-compliances.
Screening carried out in the area was of poor quality. Checks in the form of area background checks, contact with the referrer, network checks with other professionals and appropriate contact with parents were not routinely undertaken as part of the screening process.
Standard frameworks in place to determine thresholds of harm, levels of risk and prioritisation of cases were not rigorously and consistently applied at the point of referral.
Analysis was poor and the risk rating that was to be applied to the child and the circumstances was therefore based on this limited information.
Referrals were not always signed off in a timely manner once received which delayed an appropriate response.
Children, for whom multiple referrals had been made over time, did not receive a consistent response in line with national and local area procedures.
Three cases that had been screened had allegations of physical abuse that did not inform the classification and were not appropriately responded to, for example, undertaking immediate action to verify if physical abuse had actually taken place and if the child was safe.
As a result, these children did not have timely interventions and did not receive the appropriate response from the social work department so their safety was ensured.
In a statement, the Child and Family Agency, Tusla acknowledged the publication of the report and said it is actively working to implement, as a priority, the comprehensive action plan that was submitted to HIQA.
Children at Risk Ireland (CARI) has said that the HIQA report is "shocking and disturbing".
CEO Mary Flaherty said it was concerning that there were so many failures in the implementation of national standards by the agency which should be leading the way.
CARI is calling for Tusla's action plan to be implemented immediately and other parts of the country to be looked at urgently.