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Review of the Child Care Act 1991

In accordance with a commitment in Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures – The National Policy Framework for Children and Young People 2014-2020, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) commenced a two-year process to review the Child Care Act 1991 in 2017. The aims of this review are to identify what is working well within the legislation; to address any identified gaps and new areas for development; to capture current legislative, policy and practice developments; and, building on these steps, to revise the original legislation. We welcome this review as an important opportunity for the State to affirm its commitment and give appropriate legislative underpinning to its obligations to respect, protect and fulfil the rights of children affected by the 1991 Act’s provisions. Taking this opportunity will mean putting children first and will involve a focus on strengthening the visibility of children’s rights in the 1991 Act. It will also entail setting out what the State requires and expects of the Child and Family Agency (Tusla), the courts, An Garda Síochána and other actors as regards discharging their roles and responsibilities under the Act in accordance with children’s rights and best interests. In December 2017, we received an invitation from the DCYA to take part in a written consultation process regarding how best to reform and revise the 1991 Act. We completed our submission in February 2018.