The Child Care Act 1991 and At Risk Children

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“Critically assess the efficacy of the Child Care Act, 1991 with regard to the protection of children at risk in terms of the protection of, and alternative care of, children at risk.”   Introduction: The Childcare Act, 1991 is the principal law in Ireland in relation to the protection of children at risk and it sets out the guidelines on how to protect children who are at risk. The most important principal of the Child Care Act, 1991, is to be the provider of care and protection of those under eighteen years of age who are at risk. There is a mandatory duty placed on the HSE and now the Child and Family Agency, TUSLA, to uphold the welfare of those who are not receiving sufficient care and protection (Nestor, 2011).

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The Childcare Act 1991, is there to reinforce the powers of the Child and Family Agency to deliver family support services and childcare where needed. It permits the immediate involvement of The Child and Family agency and An Garda Síochana where children are at risk. The Childcare Act 1991, also allows the courts to place children in the care of or under the supervision of The Child and Family Agency in cases where children have been abused and in cases where children are at risk. It also provides provisions for the announcement and inspection of pre-school services and revises the arrangements for registration and inspection within residential care units (Barnardos, 2010). This essay will look at how efficient the Child Care Act, 1991 is, when it comes to the protection of children who are at risk. I will assess this efficacy in terms of the protection of and the alternative care of, children who are at risk. I will firstly outline who the Child Care Act defines as a child and how the act defines the terms of “at risk” and “protection of children”. The Child Care Act, 1991 Under the Child Care Act, 1991, a child is defined as being anyone who is under the age of eighteen and who is not married. The act makes some provisions for the child protection and welfare concerns of unborn children, which may have to be deliberated during pregnancy (TUSLA, 2015). The expression “at risk” is commonly used to depict children and youth and it contains a powerful intuitive meaning (Moore, 2006). Under the Child Care act, those “at risk” are children and young people who are most likely to be neglected, ill-treated or face the possibility of homelessness (Child Care Act, 1991). According to section 3(1) of the Child Care Act, the purpose of health boards is to advocate for the welfare of children in its area, in particular, those children who are not getting the acceptable care and protection that they are entitled to (The Child Care Act,

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