Thursday 22 August 2019

25pc of child protection cases involve immigrant parents

Dr Carol Coulter
Dr Carol Coulter

Lesley-Anne McKeown

Just over one in four child protection cases involved families where at least one parent is an immigrant, according to a new report.

A further 4.4pc related to families from the Travelling community.

The final report from the Child Care Law Reporting Project (CCLRP) said the figures compare to an immigrant population of 12.5pc and a Traveller population of less than 0.5pc.

The project found a disproportionate number of those facing legal action suffered from cognitive disabilities or mental health problems.

The report, which will be published today by Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Susan Denham, analysed data from almost 1,200 welfare cases over the past three years.

Researchers found the vast majority of cases involved a single parent, usually the mother, with 11pc married and 9pc co-habiting.

One in seven cases related to a parent who suffered from an intellectual disability or mental illness, while 20pc had serious drug or alcohol issues, the CCLRP found.

Neglect was the most common issue to arise, and was often accompanied by the parent having problems themselves, the report said.

Physical or emotional abuse allegations were made in 10pc of cases, while child sex abuse was alleged in 4pc of cases.

Some 30pc of the children had psychological, educational or physical special needs.

The CCLRP was set up in November 2012 and, since then, has published more than 300 reports detailing the reasons why children are taken into care.

Data was collected on 1,194 cases in the District Court and 78 in the High Court.

Meanwhile, the report also recorded variations in the level of dedicated court resources with only cities like Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Waterford holding frequent child-care days.

Elsewhere, such cases are added to already hefty family law lists, it was claimed.

CCLRP director Dr Carol Coulter said: "Our findings underline once again the urgent need for a dedicated family court, which would hear both private and public family law, setting aside dedicated days for child-care cases."

Irish Independent

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