Government Must Act on Findings of Child Care Law Reporting Project
The Children’s Rights Alliance has welcomed the release of today’s publication from the Child Care Law Reporting Project. The Project aims to provide information to the public on child care proceedings in the courts and make recommendations to address any short-comings in the child care system.
Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, said: “Once again, Dr. Coulter and her team have spotlighted the many serious and complex problems that children in the care system face.
Childhood is short yet children are subject to lengthy legal proceedings before decisions are made on their care. They also experience long waiting times for services and supports. Waiting for vital support puts a huge strain on children and can result in situations deteriorating or spiraling out of control. Too often, the system ends up struggling to meet the needs of children because of delays or lack of adequate resources. Sometimes for children in secure care for example, they are then placed overseas because there is nowhere in Ireland that can cater for their complex needs. We need to act earlier to alleviate problems for children.
Child victims of sexual abuse are an extremely vulnerable group yet they do not always have access to the necessary supports or if they do, then not quickly enough. The issue of children being interviewed multiple times by different professionals like the Gardaí and social workers is highlighted in today’s report. Children are not being spared the re-traumatisation that comes with being repeatedly made to disclose their story to different people. We note that the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone TD and the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection, Prof. Geoffrey Shannon have been exploring models in other jurisdictions that use multidisciplinary teams and we call for the introduction of specialist services for child victims as soon as possible.
Children with mental health problems, in particular those at risk of suicide, also experience unacceptable delays in getting the services and supports they need. The fact that the availability of services is patchy around the country is also deeply concerning and means that where you live in the country determines the support received. Again, we need a multidisciplinary approach to this to include child protection and social work services, mental health and the Gardaí, as appropriate.
Tanya Ward concluded: “Children in care are among the most vulnerable groups. Many of these children have also experienced abuse, including sexual abuse and may have serious mental health problems. If we truly care about children, the Government must address the needs of these children now.”
For media queries, please contact:
Emma McKinley, Children’s Rights Alliance: 01 662 9400 / 087 6559067 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editor
• Tanya Ward, Chief Executive is available for comment and/or interview.
• The Report of the Child Care Law Reporting Project published today can be found here