CHILD CARE LAW REPORTING PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS IMPORTANCE OF INTERAGENCY COOPERATION
22 cases which were reported by the Child Care Law Reporting Project today highlight a number of concerning issues with regard to child protection and welfare issues before the courts in Ireland. The reporting project was established by the government in 2012 to provide independent, anonymised reporting on child-related cases before the courts.
These main issues include:
· Agencies not working together as demonstrated by a lack of joint interviewing by An Garda Siochana and social workers
· Complex cases before the courts taking too long to be resolved – sometimes months or years
· Not hearing the voice of the child in an adequate manner
· Children being sent to other jurisdictions because of a lack of appropriate in-patient psychiatric facilities and agencies not
working together to address psychiatric/mental health needs
Interim CEO Caroline O’Sullivan said today: “Childhood doesn’t stand still. Each day, week and month without resolution of issues causes distress, upset and uncertainty for children and their parents. Cases before the courts, like those outlined in the report, need to be dealt with in a timely manner”.
“It is imperative that all organisations work together to protect and support vulnerable children. Joint Interviewing is recognised best practice and is vital for children who have suffered the trauma of sexual abuse in order to avoid further upset. Hearing the voice of the child is essential in our legal system – their views must be heard in relation to issues that impact on their lives and this appears to have been lacking in a number of reported cases.
“Finally, we must ensure that services can meet the needs of the child – exporting the care and support of vulnerable children experiencing mental health difficulties to other jurisdictions is not good enough.
“The cases reported highlight the complex nature of dealing with child protection and welfare cases before the courts. In addition to addressing the concerns outlined above, more preventative measures are needed to reduce the number of cases going to court; these include timely intervention, family support and mental health supports.”