Protecting and Supporting
The Child Care Act 1991, is the main legislation that deals with child care in Ireland. This gives Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, the duty to promote the welfare of children who are not being cared for properly. Under the Act, a child is a person under the age of 18 years who is not or has not been married.
If Tusla is concerned that a child is not being looked after properly - a variety of supports will be offered to the parents to enable them to adequately care for their child. This could include support from family support workers, social workers, youth workers, family resource centres, support groups and counselling services. If the situation does not improve, Tusla may request a Supervision Order from the Court. A Supervision Order permits Tusla professionals to visit and monitor the health and welfare of a child.
If concerns persist and the parents are considered unable to care for a child – the child may be taken into care. In the majority of cases, this happens voluntarily. But if not, Tusla may apply to the Court for a Care Order.
A child is placed ‘in care’ by Tusla, when their parents are not able to care for them. This means that the child leaves their home and lives in a new home with people who can care for them. Where possible, the child is placed in an area close to their own community to help minimise disruption in other parts of their daily lives such as attending school and meeting friends.