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The Child Care Act, 1991, is the principal legislation governing child care policy in Ireland.  Under the Child Care Act, 1991, as amended by the Child and Family Agency Act 2013, the Child and Family Agency has a statutory duty to promote the welfare of children who are not receiving adequate care and protection. A child is defined in the Act as a person under the age of 18 years who is not or has not been married.

Where the Child and Family Agency are concerned that the assessed needs of the child are not being met through the support being provided it may apply to a Court for a Supervision Order.  This does not mean that the child is ‘in care’. 

If any child is in need of care and protection and is unlikely to receive it at home, the Agency has a duty to ensure they receive appropriate care and may place the child in care by way of a Voluntary Care agreement with the parent(s)/guardian(s) or through a court order (Emergency Care Order, Interim Care Order or Care Order).


Review of Adequacy Reports


Section 8 of the Child Care Act, 1991 requires the Child and Family Agency to publish a report annually, detailing the adequacy of the child care and family support services available. The Report includes detail of family support, child protection, foster, residential and special care. This report not only provides information on the adequacy of services available, but is also required to provide information on the needs of children who are not receiving adequate care and protection. The Review of Adequacy for HSE Children and Family Services 2012 is available to view on the Tusla website. It should be noted that the Report published by the Child and Family Agency is in relation to services provided by the HSE in 2012, prior to the establishment of the Child and Family Agency in 2014.


Further Information


Coming Into Care

Pathway Into Care

Role of Social Workers and Gardaí

Children In Care - What Happens?


Statistics and International Comparisons


Also see


Foster Care


Residential Care

National Standards



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