Proposals seek to strengthen children's rights
THE REPORT of the special rapporteur on child protection makes a series of recommendations aimed at strengthening the rights, welfare and safety of young people.
Among the proposals are that authorities should undertake a review of the level of family support services provided to children admitted into the care system.
The report notes this kind of support and early intervention is crucial in helping to bring about improvements in parenting and giving children the best outcomes.
It notes there is evidence in the UK of too much emphasis on identifying abuse and neglect, which has drained time and resources away from supporting families.
Among other proposals relating to children’s rights are:
a reference to the rights of children in the forthcoming referendum that their voice should be heard in all judicial and administrative proceedings affecting them;
the use of the guardian ad litem facility should be made more widely available as a form of legal representation for children;
children should be given better information about legal proceedings affecting them;
children should have access to free legal aid provided by lawyers trained specifically in representing young people;
a comprehensive and compulsory programme should be introduced into schools to teach children about their rights.
The report also contains proposals aimed at improving child welfare and making the judicial system more child-friendly. They include “child well-being” indicators to be established to monitor children’s rights in Ireland.
In addition, it calls for a review of the direct provision system for asylum seekers to determine whether it is detrimental to the welfare and development of families, especially children.