Tuesday, 18 January 2011
Child Care (Amendment) Bill 2009 [Seanad]: Report and Final Stages
Jan O'Sullivan (Limerick East, Labour)
The Minister of State has given some comfort in so far as he has outlined areas where the welfare of the child is required. My concern is that in these situations it is important that we push to the maximum in terms of the voice of the child being heard, primarily given the experiences of the past, where these kinds of enabling terms were used but in practice were not implemented. These children are already in quite a powerless situation. The kinds of situations we are discussing concern what is beneficial to the child where the child needs medical or psychiatric assessment or examination. Where possible, it is important that these children are empowered to at least have their voices genuinely heard as opposed to a position where they may or may not be taken into account.
While I take some comfort from what the Minister of State has said, I would prefer that the wording we have suggested is included in the legislation. It would bring the balance a little more on the side of the child rather than on the side of those who are detaining the child.