Department planning ‘extensive reform’ of guardian scheme

Overhaul will include payments to guardians as well as their status, roles and responsibilities

Gordon Jeyes: comments from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs  follow concerns raised by the chief executive of Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, about the cost of the system.  Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

Gordon Jeyes: comments from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs follow concerns raised by the chief executive of Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, about the cost of the system. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

 

are “at an advanced stage”, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs has said.

A spokeswoman said the proposals will cover payments to Guardians ad litem (gals) as well as their status, roles and responsibilities. It will also cover the qualifications and criteria for the appointment of gals, their legal representation and the management of a transparent service.

Gals are appointed by judges, under the Child Care Act 1991, to represent the wishes and needs of children in child care cases. They meet children, their foster carers and their parents and report to the courts on their findings.

An estimated 80 per cent of gals are legally represented in court and may make applications to secure resources for the children they advocate for.

Comments from the department follow concerns raised by Gordon Jeyes, chief executive of Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, about the cost of the system.

Earnings by gals

The Irish Times

He also said when gals secure resources for children through the courts on foot of court orders, children in care on a voluntary basis lose out as a consequence. A spokeswoman for the department said “work on the preparation of detailed proposals for a possible policy approach to the fundamental reform” of gals is at “an advanced stage”.

Campaigned for reform

Barnardos

“Now that a child’s right to be heard is enshrined in the Irish Constitution there is even more of an urgency to ensure the service is appropriately regulated and monitored,” she said.