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Submission on the General Scheme of the Child Care (Amendment) Bill 2017

In March 2017, we made a submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs on the General Scheme of the Child Care (Amendment) Bill 2017. The stated objective of this General Scheme is to ensure that a high quality, sustainable guardian ad litem (GAL) service can be provided to benefit the greatest number of children and to ensure that their views can be heard in child care proceedings.
Although we welcome these objectives and the proposed establishment of a nationally organised and managed GAL service, we have recommended a number of changes to the proposed legislative framework with a view to ensuring that it more fully respects the rights of children. In particular, we are of the view that legislative reform in this area needs to be underpinned by a recognition of GALs as being first and foremost a service for children to give effect to their constitutional rights.