Children First Guidelines welcome but child protection must be resourced – Ó Caoláin
The Cavan-Monaghan TD said:
“Sinn Féin welcomes the announcement that Children First child protection guidelines will be placed on a statutory footing. Voluntary systems of reporting have clearly failed in the past and now must be replaced with an effective mandatory reporting system.
“Children have a right to be protected and we welcome the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs initiative in this regard. This must be followed by the prompt establishment of the proposed Child Welfare and Protection Agency.
“Child protection is an area which must be resourced according to need and cannot be left lacking in resources, or we will more Cloyne, Ryan and Murphy type reports in the coming years. Outstanding social worker posts must be filled as a matter of urgency.
“A legal requirement to report suspected abuse is an important step forward in ensuring children are protected but this would be greatly enhanced by holding a constitutional referendum to guarantee the rights of the child. We will continue to press for the holding of this referendum as soon as possible and with the wording agreed by an all-party committee in the last Dáil.
“The pity is that today’s announcement came the day after the Government voted down my proposed amendment to the Child Care Bill which would have provided a statutory right to aftercare for those leaving State care when they reach their 18th birthday. Having first ruled this amendment out of order – even though the identical amendment was allowed and voted on in the last Dáil - the Ceann Comhairle reversed his decision and allowed the amendment to be debated. It is most regrettable that the Government then voted it down. However, we will continue to press for the right to aftercare.” ENDS.