Houses of the Oireachtas publishes the Children First Bill 2014
Cork South Central Fine Gael TD and Chairperson of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children, Jerry Buttimer, has welcomed the publication today (Monday) of the Children First Bill 2014, by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald TD. The legislation will put the Children First Guidelines on a statutory footing.
“Today is a landmark day for child protection in Ireland, with the publication of the Children First Bill 2014. The commitment to publish this legislation is a key feature of the Programme for Government, as well as being a recommendation of the 2009 Ryan Report Implementation Plan.
“From day one this Government proved it takes the matter of child protection very seriously with the appointment of the first ever Cabinet Minister for Children, my colleague Frances Fitzgerald TD. I commend Minister Fitzgerald for living up to her responsibilities in this area; this is the first time that key elements of Children First Guidelines will be put on a statutory footing since they were first published in 1999.
“The Children First Bill is crucially important in ensuring best practise in child welfare and child protection. The Bill will ensure there is an explicit requirement on mandated persons to report child protection concerns to the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) including among others: medical practitioners; registered nurses; teachers; social workers; Gardaí; psychologists; members of the clergy; pre-school child care staff ; child protection officers of religious, sporting; cultural, recreational and educational organisations offering services to children.
“The Bill also forms part of a suite of child protection legislation which already includes the Criminal Justice (Withholding of Information on Offences against Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 and the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012.
“The Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children, of which I am Chair, will be actively involved in the passage of this legislation. We will be examining the Bill in detail when it reaches Committee stage. I look forward to working closely with Minister Fitzgerald in bringing about this positive new initiative for the protection of children in Ireland.”