Review of the Child Care Act 1991
The Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) has commenced a review of the Child Care Act 1991. The 1991 Act is a wide ranging piece of legislation which, at its core, seeks to promote the welfare of children who may not receive adequate care and protection.
The legislation covers the following main areas:
- Promotion of welfare of children, including the relevant functions of Tusla, the Child and Family Agency
- Protection of children in emergencies, including section 12 which governs the powers of An Garda Síochána to take a child to safety
- Care proceedings, including the different types of care orders which can be made by a court
- Children in need of special care or protection
- Private foster care
- Jurisdiction and procedure, including provisions for the appointment of a guardian ad litem for a child (section 26)
- Children in the care of the Child and Family Agency
- Supervision of preschool services and
- Children’s residential centres
See link to the legislation here.
The review is in line with a commitment in Better Outcomes Brighter Futures – The National Policy Framework for Children and Young People 2014-2020 which states that the Government commits to ‘review and reform as necessary, the Child Care Act 1991.’
The purpose of the review is to:
- Identify what is working well within the legislation including its impact on policy and practice
- Address any identified gaps, operational improvements and new areas for development
- Capture current legislative, policy and practice developments
- Building on those steps, revise the original legislation
Please note that the reform of current Guardian ad Litem arrangements (under section 26 of the 1991 Act) is being progressed separately to this review and has already been the subject of public consultation. See link to information on this.
DCYA has commenced a public consultation process on the review of the Child Care Act 1991. The Department are also working closely with Tusla, the Child and Family Agency to identify areas for reform under the 1991 Act.
Open Policy Debate
DCYA held a successful Open Policy Debate on the review of the 1991 Act in Dublin Castle on 5th September 2017. More than 80 participants attended the event that involved discussions on what works well and what needs to be improved and developed in the legislation.
The report of the day, as prepared by an independent rapporteur, is available here.
Written Consultation Process
The Department are now commencing a written consultation process and is inviting written submissions regarding how best to reform and revise the 1991 Act. Contributors may comment on the parts of the Act that are of particular relevance to their organisation, or on the entire Act.
A template for the written submission and more information is available here.
It is requested that your contribution be submitted to the Department by 23rd February 2018 to the email ChildCareAct1991@dcya.gov.ie. Please note that all written submissions will be published on this website at a later date. You may consult the documents listed below (background documents below) when compiling your submission. However, the Department welcomes references to any additional written evidence on how the current Act is implemented.
Any queries should be sent to ChildCareAct1991@dcya.gov.ie .
This section contains links to useful reference documents on the review of the Child Care Act 1991:
- Child Care Act 1991 (Consolidated version – Law Reform Commission)
- Explanatory memo – Child Care Bill 1988
- Information note for Open Policy Debate
- Child Care Law Reporting Project
- Childcare proceedings in the District Court Research Project, University College Cork (see several articles at http://cora.ucc.ie)
- A video series on removal systems in other countries
- Report on the Open Policy Debate, 5th September, 2017
- Review of international child care legislation by Centre of Effective Services
- Reports by the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection