Seanad debates

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Child Care (Amendment) Bill 2009: Report and Final Stages


11:00 am

Photo of Ciarán CannonCiarán Cannon (Fine Gael)

I move amendment No. 1:

In page 6, between lines 6 and 7, to insert the following:

"3.—The Minister shall within three months of the commencement of this Act, publish a report on the provision of secure care under this Act which shall include consideration of how such provision compares with best practice internationally.".

I welcome the Minister of State. This amendment has been submitted by Fine Gael because it believes the Bill gives us, as a nation, an opportunity to address meaningfully the shortcomings of our child care system. If the amendment is accepted, it will represent a strong signal from the Government of its intent to ensure the highest standards of care are achieved in all care facilities, particularly the secure care facilities to which this legislation pertains. My colleague, Senator Fitzgerald, pointed out during the Committee Stage debate that a stay in a secure unit should be a positive and therapeutic experience for a child, but, unfortunately, the opposite seems to be the case for many children. When I listened to a recent radio interview with Ms Louise Rafter, I was deeply saddened by her account of her experience in a secure unit. She described how, as a ten year old girl, she had been incarcerated in a bare-walled room that had a bed glued to the floor. She was left there for two weeks in pain and distress.

The amendment would require the Minister to give a commitment that within three months he or she would "publish a report on the provision of secure care under this Act". The Minister of State may consider the relevant period should be extended to six or 12 months. This proposal would ensure the experience of Ms Rafter and many others like her was never repeated.

A recently published HSE report, Inspiring Confidence in Children and Family Services: Putting Children First and Meaning It, concluded that when children were taken into care, factors such as the age of entry into care and the speed with which action was taken to rehabilitate or find long-term alternatives were critical. It was chilling to learn in the report that a child over the age of ten years who had been in care for more than one year was likely to remain in care for the rest of his or her childhood.

I welcome the Minister of State's response on Committee Stage when he indicated that he wanted to adhere to or surpass the very best international child care practice. The amendment proposes that he should commission a report to establish how our services stand up to scrutiny and compare with best international practice. If the Minister of State seeks to reject the amendment, I will wonder why that is the case. I look forward to hearing his response.


Catherine Mills
Posted on 31 May 2010 10:52 pm (Report this comment)

Every man woman and child knows the truth of corporate care of children in Ireland. Everyone knows the children in care are lablelled the"DISPOSABLE CHILDREN"

The only reason the Ministers do not know is the law prevents the service users from contacting the Ministers and letting them know the truth.

The minister for children is like a chicken in charge of HSE- den of foxes.

For years I have been trying to get the ears of the various ministers re treatment of children in their care and no reply.

Not a word in public of abused children receiving Electric Shock Therapy to burn out the memories of abuse, so the children can be put back with their abusers.

Same as always, punish the victim and protect the abuser.

Sure, it's a great country, for sure.

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