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Legislation Enacted in 2015


Children First Act 2015

The Children First Act 2015 was signed into law by the President on 19 November 2015.
The Act obliges certain professionals and others working with children to report child protection concerns to the Child and Family Agency and to assist the Agency, if requested to do so, in its assessment of a child protection risk.

The Act obliges a provider of services to children to undertake an assessment of the potential for risk of harm to a child while that child is availing of its services and to prepare an appropriate Child Safeguarding Statement in accordance with the Bill.

The Act also provides statutory underpinning for the Children First Inter-departmental Implementation Group which will promote cross-sectoral implementation and compliance with Children First legislation and report on an annual basis to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.

The Children First Act 2015 also provides for an amendment to the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997 to abolish the common law defence of reasonable chastisement.

Children First Bill 2014

Children First Act 2015 (Link not available yet)


Children (Amendment) Act 2015

The Children (Amendment) Act 2015 was signed into law by the President on 27 July 2015 and has yet to be commenced. This Act provides the legal framework to facilitate the amalgamation of the children detention schools to create a single campus and, accordingly, delivers on the Programme for Government to end the detention of children in adult facilities.

In addition, the Act provides for a system of remission in the children detention schools and clarifies the legal status of children who have been convicted of a summary offence and reach the age of 18 in a children detention school.  It also makes other necessary changes to the Children Act 2001.


Children (Amendment) Act 2015

Children (Amendment) Bill 2015

Draft General Scheme Children (Amendment) Bill 2014

Draft General Scheme Children (Amendment) Bill 2013


Legislation currently being prepared by the Department


Child Care (Amendment) Bill 2015

The main purpose of the proposed legislation is to strengthen the legislative provisions for aftercare by amending the Child Care Act 1991 to place a statutory duty on the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) to prepare an aftercare plan for an eligible child or eligible young person.

The General Scheme was subjected to the pre-legislative scrutiny process by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children and the Heads were subsequently revised to incorporate some of the recommendations contained in the Committee's report

The Bill was presented in Seanad on 16 October 2015 and is currently going through the Houses of the Oireachtas.

Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill 2012

The main purpose of the proposed legislation is to provide for the Adoption Authority to have responsibility for safeguarding and maintenance of all adoption records in the State and for ensuring that access to those records is provided to an adopted person or birth parent in accordance with the Bill.  The legislation will provide for an Information and Tracing Service to applicants seeking information about adoption.

On 22 of July, Cabinet agreed to the publication of the Heads and General Scheme of the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill 2015 (Print Friendly Version).

It should be noted that the Heads of Bill and General Scheme is a draft publication which represents the policy objectives and the framework for how it is intended to legislate to achieve those objectives. The Heads of Bill and General Scheme were subjected to pre-legislative scrutiny by the Joint Oireachtas Committee for Health and Children and the Department is currently reviewing the recommendations of the Committee’s Report.


Adoption (Amendment) Bill 2012

This legislation is arising from the Thirty-First Amendment of the Constitution (Children) Act 2012 which was was signed into law on 28 April 2015. The main purpose of this proposed legislation is to amend the Adoption Act 2010 to provide for:

•    the voluntary placement for adoption and adoption of a child of married parents, and
•    the dispensing with parental consent to adoption in circumstances where the High Court is satisfied that the parents of a child have failed in their duty towards that child for a continuous period of 36 months or more and where it is considered likely that such failure will continue, and where adoption is considered to be in the best interest of the child.

This legislation also proposes to amend the Adoption Act 2010 to reflect the adoption provisions provided for in the Children and Family Relationships Act. The drafting process is under way.


Legislation Relevant to the Department

Legislation enacted since the establishment of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs


Other legislation for which the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs has responsibility


Bills published by the Department and presented to Oireachtas by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs

Restatements and Revision of Acts

A restated or revised Act is an administrative consolidation of that Act. It brings together in a single text all amendments and changes to an Act, making the law more accessible for all users.

The Statute Law (Restatement) Act 2002 provides that the Attorney General may certify the text of a restatement, which allows it to be used as prima facie evidence of the law in question.  The Law Reform Commission has prepared a body of restatements under its two programmes of restatement and it intends to ensure that this work is maintained up-to-date on an ongoing basis. Because it may not be practicable to have each update certified, the Commission is making available uncertified restatements and will refer to these as Revised Acts. The term Revised Acts is often used in other states, such as Australia and New Zealand to describe such administrative consolidations of Acts. (Source Law Reform Commission)

For more information on the programme of restatements see the Law Reform Commission.

Acts which are relevant to the Department of Children and Youth Affairs which have been restated or revised by the Law Reform Commission are listed below:

Please note that these documents are restated or revised up to a particular date which is indicated. The documents do not include any amendments which have been made to the Acts after that date.




Revised Acts


The Irish Statute Book (eISB)

The electronic Irish Statute Book (eISB) is produced by the Office of the Attorney General and includes Acts of the Oireachtas, Statutory Instruments and the Legislation Directory, which can be accessed on their website.

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