A Wakeup Call for the Child Protection and Welfare System - Findings of Special Inquiry Report on Removal of Roma Children
Tuesday, 1 July 2014: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Today the Government published the Ombudsman for Children’s special inquiry into the removal of two Roma children from their families in October 2013.
Welcoming Emily Logan’s findings, Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance said:
“Logan’s thorough investigation is a real wake-up call for our child protection system. The decisions to remove the children took place in a chaotic situation where everyone thought that they were acting to protect the children. But ultimately the Ombudsman for Children found that the Gardaí had acted disproportionately and breached the constitutional rights of the families. Of particular concern is the finding that the children’s ethnicity featured in the decision-making.
“This incident was deeply upsetting for the two families and for the Roma community as a whole. The Child and Family Agency needs to respond by developing a robust equality policy and appointing a senior designated social inclusion manager.
But there is also a broader question of how we treat Roma children. They face discrimination on a daily basis and are prevented from accessing basic entitlements such as Child Benefit. This has to change.
“The Gardaí are critical to our child protection system and have to make very sophisticated decisions in difficult situations. The Ombudsman for Children recommends an independent audit of Gardaí special powers, the development of a Protocol and training in cultural competence."
The Children’s Rights Alliance also welcomes the announcement by the Minister for Justice and Equality to establish an Implementation Group to review the report’s findings. However, it is essential that the Roma are properly represented on this group and a concrete action plan is drawn up.
For interview bids and further information, please contact:
Emma McKinley, Legal and Policy Officer
Tel: (01) 662 4900 / 087 7702845