Rights groups attack absence of sanctions in new children's bill
CHILDREN'S rights groups have criticised the lack of sanctions on those who fail to report child protection concerns in the new Children First Bill.
The bill, which was first promised 15 years ago, was published yesterday by Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald.
It states anyone providing services to children must carry out risk assessments and prepare child safeguarding statements. And it places a statutory obligation on individuals and groups, working with children, known as "mandated officers" to report cases to the Child and Family Agency (Tulsa) set up earlier this year.
These include medical practitioners, teachers, social workers, gardai, and members of the clergy, among others.
However, children's rights group have criticised the removal of sanctions against those who fail to report child protection concerns – something that was included in a previous draft of the bill.
"We're trying to grapple with what that means," said Children's Rights Alliance chief executive Tanya Ward, who welcomed the "overdue bill".
"There's nothing in this bill that will fine an organisation for not having a child statement or for failure to report. We would expect some sort of monitoring mechanism."