Sunday, 29 July 2012

Ireland - should members of the public be able to initiate care proceedings?

I was pleased to see Eilis O’Hanlan in the Sunday Independent strongly challenging the suggestion made by Ireland’s special rapporteur for children's protection, Dr Geoffrey Shannon, that any person should have the right to apply to a court to have a child taken into care.

My view is that allowing any member of the public the right to initiate proceedings would inevitably result in public services having to respond to some cases that should never have been drawn into the care net. That would mean that significant resources (fostering, assessment etc.) were diverted away from more needy children.

Ireland’s child protection institutions have experienced more than their fair share of problems in recent years but a free-for-all in child protection is not the solution. It could have disastrous results.