We welcomed the opportunity to contribute to the Joint Committee on Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth in their pre-legislative scrutiny of the General Scheme of the Child Care (Amendment) Bill 2023.

This long-awaited review and update to the Child Care Act, 1991 provides an opportunity to ensure that policy and practice relating to the protection and welfare of children in Ireland is robust, child-centred, and in line with Ireland’s human rights obligations.

EPIC acknowledges the progress made by the Oireachtas to date in enhancing the rights of children and young people in care or with care experience. EPIC believes that the General Scheme of the Child Care (Amendment) Bill 2023 offers the Oireachtas a real opportunity to ensure that the lives and wellbeing of children in its care are prioritised, and to ensure that provisions are made for these children to transition to adulthood in a manner where they are supported to thrive and achieve the best possible outcomes.

In our submission, we outline some of the key issues we believe would enhance the legislation to promote the protection and welfare of children in state care and after care. The issues covered in this submission are as follows:

  • Guiding principles and Guidelines [Heads 4 and 5]
    • The Right to Independent Advocacy
  • Voluntary Care [Head 7]
  • Duty of relevant bodies to cooperate [Head 10]
  • Support for children temporarily out of home [Head 8]
  • Emergency Care Orders [Head 14]
  • Interim Care Orders [Head 17]
  • Significant issues not currently addressed by the General Scheme of the Child Care (Amendment) Bill 2023
    • Aftercare Eligibility Criteria (section 45)
    • Unaccompanied Minors
    • The In Camera Rule (section 31)

Read the full Submission (PDF)

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