Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Questions (178)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

178. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of children or young adults who have been made wards of court in the past ten years; the degree to which the process continues to provide help and support to the children in question; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19136/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy may be aware, the High Court has jurisdiction in Wards of Court matters and management of the courts is the responsibility of the Courts Service, which is independent in exercising its functions under the Courts Service Act 1998. However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and the Courts Service has informed me that a total of 170 minors, persons under the age of 18, were brought into Wardship from 2008 to 2017.

Year

No. of persons under-18 brought into Wardship

2008

16

2009

10

2010

13

2011

14

2012

19

2013

20

2014

12

2015

19

2016

21

2017

26

The Courts Service has also informed me that there are a number of reasons why it might be necessary to take a person under 18 years of age into Wardship. The most common situation is where the minor has been awarded substantial damages by a Court and has special housing and/or care needs.

While the needs of each ward are different, all wards under a legal disability are therefore vulnerable persons. The Wards of Court Office, under the direction of President of the High Court, takes its responsibility to protect the person and property of every ward seriously, ensuring that the ward’s assets are protected and appropriately invested, approving expenditure on the ward’s behalf, dealing with the ward’s committee or guardian (usually a family member) to ensure that the ward’s personal needs are met, dealing with proposals for sale, purchase or adaptation of accommodation for the ward's benefit, liaising with healthcare professionals and drafting proposals concerning the person and property of the ward for the President of the High Court to help and support the ward.