Initial Observations on the Child Care (Amendment) Bill 2009

Barnardos, Irish Association of Young People in Care, Irish Foster Care Association. (2010). Initial Observations on the Child Care (Amendment) Bill 2009.
Barnardos, the Irish Association of Young People in Care and the Irish Foster Care Association (hereafter referred to as the group) welcomes the opportunity afforded by the Child Care (Amendment) Bill 2009 to improve the support and care provided for all children coming into the care system, and in particular those in secure care, high support units, and aftercare. These children are a particularly vulnerable and at risk group and require the full protection of the law to ensure their needs and rights are met adequately. While we welcome a number of measures in the Bill, specifically Sections 6, 7 and 8 for their strengthening of efficiencies and protection for these children, we remain concerned at a number of other areas of the proposed amendments. In particular, the group is concerned that the current drafting of the Bill cements the current system in place rather than striving to build on existing structures and services to improve outcomes for the vulnerable children in high support and secure care. We are also concerned at the lack of statutory provision for the representation of the child’s voice and best interest in proceedings concerning special care orders. The group considers it imperative that the outlined amendments are made to this Bill in order to ensure the best possible protection and care to children whose welfare is at risk for a variety of reasons. Barnardos’ Guardian ad litem (GAL) service, IAYPIC and the IFCA have all been involved with many children in high support care and secure units. We look forward to continued opportunities to offer our expertise and knowledge to help develop a model that works in the best interests of the children in such units in a spirit of partnership with policy makers, legislators and practitioners at Government level.