Published Wednesday, 18 September 2013
His announcement was in response to revelations that 22 young people between 13 and 18 in care had been abused.
ACC Mark Hamilton confirmed in an exclusive interview with UTV that 18 children identified as potential victims went missing from care more than 400 times in a year and a half.
Police believe most of the men involved are in their early 20s, although they range from teenagers to 60 year olds.
More than 30 arrests have been made so far.
In a statement on Wednesday Minister Poots said: "I recognise this is an issue of significant interest to the public.
"In order to provide assurance and for the public to have the maximum confidence, I am giving consideration to asking an expert from outside Northern Ireland to provide an independent assessment and report to me on the existing practices and procedures which fall under the responsibility of my Department.
"A significant amount of work has been carried out in recent years in this area where continuous improvement is constantly being sought. I consider it essential that the public know that everything that can be done is being done on these very challenging issues."
Life has failed these children, that goes back to their very earliest childhood and the fact that they've ended up in care system.
Health Minister Edwin Poots
Meanwhile Sinn Féin have put forward an assembly motion to call for an inquiry into the sexual exploitation of young people in care and elsewhere.
The motion calls on the Minister for Health to liaise with the Minister for Justice and launch an immediate inquiry.
Maeve McLaughlin, Sinn Féin health spokesperson, said: ""This has happened under the watch of the Health Minister and the Department of Health. In 2011 Barnardos published a report paid for by the Health Department that made several recommendations concerning the welfare of children in care homes.
"Indeed five of the six recommendations fell under the remit of the Health Department and the minister needs to tell us how many of these recommendations have been implemented and when they were implemented."
It is a serious indictment on our society when children are placed in care homes to keep them from harm's way when in fact some are being placed in even greater risk.
Maeve McLaughlin, SF Health Committee Chair
Minister Poots said he would look at how to ensure best practice is carried out in his department's facilities.
"I would welcome the fact that we're having a motion in the assembly that will table the issue," he said.
"It's too important an issue for us not to having that level of discussions, so obviously we briefed the committees last week and I'm giving serious consideration as to what next steps need to be taken in view of everything that has been revealed over course of the last few days."
But he said his department had taken on board recommendations made in the Barnardos report, which had warned that young girls were at risk of sexual exploitation.
He said he had carried out the vast majority of them, including the establishment of a safeguarding board.
"It's a very difficult situation we're dealing with where young people don't see themselves as victims but nonetheless I think that we have to look at all of those issues, we have to learn from them and make sure that we act upon that learning," he continued.
"That is why we're looking at providing hubs for families that are in crisis, providing support for families that have difficulty raising children we want to ensure that there are less children in care in future and we have those early interventions."
Minister Poots added: "There are clearly issues around protection, around safeguarding and around processes that need to be addressed."
© UTV News