Tuesday 21 November 2017

Child's interests always 'first and paramount'

Geoffrey Shannon

IT is only in exceptional circumstances that a child should be removed from his or her family and there is a robust system of checks and balances in place to ensure that this is so.

There are clearly defined circumstances in which the State is not merely entitled but obliged to intervene to safeguard children from harm, even from within their own families.

The Child Care Act, 1991 imposes a positive duty on the HSE to promote the welfare of children in its area who are not receiving adequate care and protection. Where the HSE acts in accordance with the 1991 Act it must adhere to a strict framework and meet the requisite thresholds. While there is a duty to give due consideration to the rights and duties of parents, the 1991 Act is clear that the child's interests are "first and paramount".

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