Two matters arise here. Deputy O'Donoghue raised an important point. Section 16 allows the court, where there are a whole series of possible scenarios, as set out in paragraphs (a), (b) and (c), the discretion to make a supervision order in the type of circumstances to which the Minister referred. For example, even though something may have happened in the past, home circumstances changed and the person responsible for the abuse has been barred, the court may still feel there is a need to provide some supervision.
The reason we wanted to delete section 16 (1) (a) and (b) was that there was a view that the order a court should apply for, where there has been sexual abuse, assault or serious ill treatment of the child, is a care order — it should not become the norm to look for a supervision order in those circumstances — but where the changed family circumstances are such or the evidence falls short of proving that level of seriousness, there should be a supervision order option under section 15 (5).
If we delete the word "seriously" from section 16 (1) (c) and just refer to "neglect", I could envisage a whole series of possible circumstances, such as those as outlined by the Minister, under which it would be justified for a health board to look for a supervision order but in which there would be no possibility of them getting a care order. We took the view that if a situation arose under section 16 (1) (a) and (b) the normal application should be for a care order and if a situation arose under section 16 (1) (c) there may be some circumstances where it would be appropriate to seek a supervision order, but the norm should be to seek a care order. That was the thinking behind the amendment.
Deputy O'Donoghue made a worth-while point which I do not think can arise under the section as currently worded. The Deputy said that during the course of a court hearing on an application for a supervision order something may emerge which indicates that the situation is far more serious than was originally thought which would warrant the making of the care order rather than a supervision order. Would I be correct in saying that if an application is made under section 16 the only option the court has is to grant a supervision order, but if it is made under section 15 it can grant a care order or, because we still have the section 15 (5) pending Report Stage, a supervision order? If we retain section 16 (1) (a) and (b) there is a need, even when a health board apply for a supervision order, to give the court the option to make a care order. If we take paragraphs (a) and (b) out of section 16, then that may not be a necessary option, but I do not think that option exists currently under section 16. It is just a question of getting the sections interacting in a logical way to avoid a multiplicity of court applications because as things stand at the moment if something particularly serious arose under an application under section 16 the health board would have to start all over again under section 15. Just as I was complaining earlier, if they did not succeed in getting a care order and if we took out subsection (5), they would have to start all over again under section 16. That is not in the interest of either the health board or the parents involved, because neither wants to continue to litigate. It is certainly not in the interest of the child. There is a need to sort out the interaction between the sections but the reason for deleting paragraphs (a) and (b) from section 16 is not inconsistent with wanting to retain subsection (5) in section 15.