Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Ceisteanna (603)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

603. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her plans to update the Child Care Act 1991. [12045/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

As the Deputy will be aware, the primary legislation regulating child care policy is the Child Care Act 1991.

My Department is reviewing the Act in line with a Government commitment under Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures: The National Policy Framework for Children and Young People. The purpose of the review is to identify what is working well within the existing legislation, address any identified gaps or new areas for development and reflect recent policy and practice developments.

An important step of this process is to engage with a wide range of stakeholders to collect their views and experiences and my Department commenced this process with an open policy debate in Dublin Castle late 2017. Since then we have concluded a written consultation that received over forty submissions, hosted a series of consultations with front line staff and management from Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, and consulted with a number of other stakeholders including legal professionals. These consultations have been crucial to informing the scoping work by the Department and development of policy papers.

Our aim for the upcoming year is to refine and finalise our policy proposals, with a view to seeking permission from Government to draft the Heads and a General Scheme of a Child Care (Amendment) Bill.

The Deputy might wish to note that the reform of Section 26 of the 1991 Act, concerning the role and function of Guardian ad litem, is progressed separately. The Department, in consultation with the Office of Parliamentary Counsel, is finalising the drafting of the relevant Bill and it is anticipated that this will be published in the coming months.