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National Review Panel on serious incidents including deaths of children in care

National Review Panel

In 2010 the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) issued Guidance for the Health Service Executive for the Review of Serious Incidents including Deaths of Children in Care and these came into effect in March of that year.  This Guidance prescribed that the HSE establish a National Review Panel to review cases meeting the following criteria:

  • All deaths of children in care, including deaths by natural causes
  • All deaths of children known to Tusla child protection system
  • Deaths of young adults (up to 21 years of age) who were in the care of Tusla in the period immediately prior to their 18th birthday or were in receipt of aftercare services under Section 45 of the Child Care Act, 1991.
  • Where a case of suspected or confirmed abuse involves the death of, or a serious incident to, a child known to Tusal or a Tusla funded service
  • Serious incidents involving children in care or children known to the Tusla Child Protection Services

As a matter of policy it is the intention of the Tusla to publish reports from serious case reviews save where there are exceptional or compelling reasons not to do so.  The policy is motivated by an intention to provide full and transparent public accountability in all matters relating to the duties and obligations of Tusla.

Panel Membership

In order to ensure transparency in the process of review an independent chairperson was appointed to oversee all aspects of the Panel’s work – Prof. Helen Buckley, Ph.D., School of Social Work and Social Policy, Trinity College Dublin.  While administered by the HSE, the National Review Panel remains functionally independent, making findings of fact and producing reports that are entirely objective and independent of Tusla.

Annual Report

The Annual Report of the National Review Panel was published on 18 October, 2011.

The report covers the period from March to December 2010. During this period 22 cases of death were notified and 8 serious incidents. Of the 22 deaths reported 6 of these were due to natural causes, 4 were drugs overdoses, 4 were as the result of suicide, 4 were due to road traffic accidents, 2 were homicide and 2 were as a result of accidents other than road traffic accidents.