Conclusion: Separated Children in Ireland

Dr Liam Thornton is a lecturer in law in University College Dublin.

A number of core themes and issues have emerged from today’s blog carnival, organised by Samantha Arnold of the Irish Refugee Council.

In Samantha’s post, she noted that separated children need to be cared for under the Child Care Act 1991, and the challenges that social workers faced when dealing with separated children in Ireland. Samantha looked at how the Independent Advocacy Pilot was leading to better outcomes for separated children, yet also the enormous challenges facing separated children as they transition to adulthood. Lisa has noted the sense of purpose and achievement of involvement with the Independent Advocacy Pilot and has emphasised the role of the voice of the child as being key to understanding their needs, wishes and dreams. Tom, relying on his expertise from working with separated children in both the UK and Ireland concludes that while their are differences between both jurisdictions, a key unifier is, how the treatment of separated children by the state can add to the already enormous toll these children are under. This theme is taken forward by both Muireann and Brian.  Muireann notes the positive impact of fostering for separated children, how it gives these children a sense of belonging and provides much needed stability. Brian, discusses the issue of adulthood of aged out minors and the pitfalls involved in the direct provision system for these very vulnerable young men and women. Jenna is direct and correct in Continue reading “Conclusion: Separated Children in Ireland”

Conclusion: Separated Children in Ireland

Foster care for separated children in Ireland: A positive policy development

Dr Muireann Ní Raghallaigh, Lecturer in Social Work at University College Dublin.

Over the past ten years or so, when we have heard about separated children, it has generally been in rather negative contexts: reports of inadequate services, of teenagers being accommodated in unsupervised hostels, of young people disappearing from the ‘care’ system, of concerns about trafficking and of deportations of ‘aged-out’ minors. Likewise, when the foster care system is discussed in the public sphere, the discussions are often quite negative. Indeed, very recently, foster carers got particularly bad press during the Children’s Rights Referendum.

It is only within the last two years, that the two ‘topics’ – separated children and foster carers – have really come together in any significant way. Until then very few separated children lived in foster care. The majority were cared for in unregulated hostels that were not staffed by professionals. This situation received ongoing criticism from numerous organisations, including the Irish Refugee Council. Over a number of years the HSE began closing hostels and moving separated children into family placements – foster care and supported lodgings. (Supported lodgings are a less intensive form of foster care designed for children aged 15 and over.). This change in policy was welcomed by a multitude of service providers and was seen as allowing separated children to be provided with care that equates with their Irish counterparts.

Over the last year, I undertook research on separated children in foster care/supported lodgings and had the privilege of being able to interview foster/supported lodgings carers, separated children and stakeholders. Having been involved in this field in various capacities for over a decade, it was heartening to learn that the new system, while not perfect, is working well for many separated children and for their carers.

Indeed, the interviews with the foster carers shed light on a group of individuals Continue reading “Foster care for separated children in Ireland: A positive policy development”

Foster care for separated children in Ireland: A positive policy development

Legal Analysis of the Children's Referendum: Article 42A Conclusion

Aoife Nolan is Professor of International Human Rights Law in University of Nottingham. Liam Thornton is a lecturer in law and director of clinical legal education in University College Dublin. Aoife and Liam are organising Human Rights in Ireland’s contribution to the debate on Article 42A, the Children’s Amendment.

It is important that clear, accessible and intelligible information on the proposed Children’s referendum wording is available. We hope that for those not fully clear on the purpose or wording of Article 42A, that the series of blog posts today provides you with a better understanding of the constitutional amendment on children. The decision is ultimately up to Irish citizens as to whether they choose to accept this amendment to the Irish Constitution. Our only task now, is to thank each of the contributors for their blog posts, which are hyper-linked below for easy reference.

Conor O’Mahony on Article 42A.1

Eoin Daly on Article 42A.2.1

Liam Thornton on Article 42A.2.2

Fergus Ryan on Article 42A.3

Ursula Kilkelly on Article 42A.4.1

Aisling Parkes on Article 42A.4.2

Sean O’Conaill on Article 42A and the Irish wording

On Friday, 26th October 2012, Human Rights in Ireland will be providing a platform for a variety of contributors to give their views on the Children’s referendum and Article 42A.

Legal Analysis of the Children's Referendum: Article 42A Conclusion

Blog Carnival: The Children's Referendum

Aoife Nolan is Professor of International Human Rights Law in University of Nottingham. Liam Thornton is a lecturer in law and director of clinical legal education in University College Dublin. Aoife and Liam are organising Human Rights in Ireland’s contribution to the debate on Article 42A, the Children’s Amendment.

On November 10th 2012, a referendum will take place where people will have an opportunity to amend the Irish constitution to provide specific recognition of the constitutional rights of children in the constitution. Over the coming weeks, Human Rights in Ireland will provide expert analysis on the background to the introduction of the children’s amendment, an accessible legal analysis of each of the provisions of proposed Article 42A, and expert analysis and commentary on the children’s amendment. By offering accessible and concise information on the children’s amendment, Human Rights in Ireland seeks to contribute to, and demystify, the debate surrounding the children’s amendment. The provisional schedule for these posts are as follows:

On Wednesday, 17th October posts on the background to the children’s amendment; an explanation of what precisely a referendum is and an analysis of the Oireachtas debates (to date) on the Thirty-First Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2012

On Tuesday 23rd October a number of experts on constitutional law, drawn from regular authors to this blog and guest posts, will explain in an accessible manner each of the provisions of the proposed amendment: Article 42A.

On Friday 26th October, Human Rights in Ireland will be hosting a number of posts that will analyse various aspects of the children’s constitutional amendment, offering expert insight and opinion on the role and value of the proposed Article 42A.

The Thirty-First Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2012 proposes to delete Continue reading “Blog Carnival: The Children's Referendum”

Blog Carnival: The Children's Referendum