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Launch of the findings of a two-year research study into complex child protection cases by the Child Care Law Reporting Project

Tuesday 5th June, 2018

The Hon Mr Justice Frank Clarke, Chief Justice, today, on behalf of the Child Care Law Reporting Project (CCLRP), launched the findings of a two-year research study examining lengthy, contested and complex child protection cases in the District Court. This report was commissioned by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone, T.D., welcomed the report, which forms a fitting culmination to the work of the Child Care Law Reporting Project over the last number of years.

The Minister stated that, “the reports produced by the CCLRP have proven an invaluable asset to all of us, including my Department, Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, legal practitioners and many other stakeholders, who are working to ensure that child care law in Ireland works for the benefit of our most vulnerable children.

These reports are a crucial component in ensuring that those of us charged with the ongoing development and improvement of our child welfare and protection systems have full sight of those issues that present in the most difficult cases.”

This report provides empirical evidence for the complexities that can arise in child care proceedings. It identifies the challenge in coordination between government agencies, delays in securing psychological and sexual abuse assessments for children at the centre of proceedings, and contention around the use of hearsay evidence as among some of the difficulties that can arise at the interface of the child protection and the courts systems.

The report recognises that responding to these varied challenges will require a coordinated response from a wide range of actors. A number of specific recommendations for the attention of the Government, Tusla, the Department of Justice and Equality, the courts, and legal practitioners are made in this regard.

Minister Zappone further added, “the timing of the launch of this report, coming as it does when my Department is undertaking a thorough review of the Child Care Act 1991 and the Department of Justice and Equality is preparing the heads of a Family Courts Bill, is particularly beneficial. These developments provide a unique opportunity and potential gateway to address the challenges identified in the report.”

Minister Zappone was also happy to confirm that the CCLRP has entered into a new agreement with her Department to continue this important work for the next three years.


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