ChildLinks Issue 2: Child Protection

Barnardos. (2010). ChildLinks Issue 2: Child Protection.
Welcome to the autumn edition of Childlinks which focuses on Child Protection. Insight into the current state of the child protection system is provided in the Ombudsman for Children’s Office investigation of Children First. The Ombudsman concluded that while substantial efforts had been made since 1999 to implement Children First, much needs to be done to improve protection and to promote children’s rights and welfare. The Ombudsman questions whether child protection services are best delivered within the context of the HSE. Recent findings by HIQA (Health Information and Quality Authority), which has a statutory role in the inspection of child protection services, has highlighted the inconsistent implementation of child protection standards in HSE regions in Dublin North. Barnardos is concerned that such persistent problems with the child protection system not only fail vulnerable children but fail the committed professionals working on the front line of child protection. In a recent presentation to the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children, Barnardos questioned whether the HSE is in fact fit for purpose when it comes to child protection. Issues which have come to light from recent reports would indicate that it is not. In particular there is concern that there are no clear national standards, a lack of a clear assessment model and no national agreement on the threshold that we as a nation want to set with regard to protecting our children. On the other hand, the Government has published the Ryan Implementation Plan in response to the Ryan report1, an ambitious plan which seeks to correct many of the inadequacies in our child protection system. Progress has been made but it has been slow. As a society we must prioritise our children, we must prioritise their childhood and we must demand the changes that will fix our broken child protection system.