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Child Care / Child Protection Solicitor Dublin

Family Law: Child Care / Child Protection Law

Maura Hurley Solicitors is one of Dublin’s best know Child Care and Child Protection Solicitors based in the Ormond Building, 31-36 Ormond Quay Upper, Dublin 7

The Child Care Act provides that in any court proceedings concerning a child the Court must regard the welfare of the child as the principle guide in it’s decision making.

Depending on the age of the child, the Court will also have to have regard to the wishes of the child and the parents but the guiding principle is the welfare of the child.

The Child Care Act 1991 also sets out the role of the HSE in child care issues and under section 3 of Part III of the Act which places certain duties and obligations on the HSE in the whole area of child care. The HSE must also have regard to the wishes of the parents in carrying out it’s statutory duties.

High Court decisions have held that it is generally in the best interests of the child to be brought up in his own family so for this reason the intervention of the HSE to override the wishes of the parents has been limited to exceptional cases.

To discuss your case contact the office of Maura Hurley Solicitors on +353-1-526-6723 or click here to email

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Family Law

Why was the Children’s Referendum important?

1. For the first time, the Constitution is able to take a child-centred approach to the protection of all children and allow the State to better support families who are struggling, rather than wait for a situation to reach crisis point.
2. It allows up to 2,000 children, currently in long-term State care, the opportunity to be adopted and given a second chance at a loving, stable and permanent family.
3. It bases child care, adoption, guardianship, custody and access decisions on what is in the best interests of the child.
4. It ensures that judges listen to the views of children when making decisions in child care, adoption, guardianship, custody and access cases
5. It sets out how we, as a country, now view and value children and help us move beyond the damning history of child abuse in Ireland

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Voluntary care

Section 4 of the Child Care Act allows the HSE to take a child into voluntary care with the consent of the parents where the child’s care and protection requires it.

Section 5 of the Act obliges the HSE to deal with homeless children and provide them with “suitable accommodation”.

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Children in emergency situations

Both the HSE and the Gardai have extensive powers to protect children in emergency situations. Section 12 allows the Gardai to remove a child to safety where there are reasonable grounds for thinking that there are immediate and serious risks to the welfare or health of the child. When this occurs the HSE is then obliged to make an application for an emergency care order in the District Court.

This emergency care order will see the child being placed in the care of the HSE for up to 8 days.

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The HSE and care proceedings

Part IV of the Act covers the role of the HSE in situations where the child is thought to be in danger. If the HSE considers that a child is in need of care or protection it has a positive obligation to make an application to Court for either a care or supervision order.

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Care order

A care order places the child in the care of the HSE for so long as he remains a child or for a lesser period. The HSE then acts as a parent to the child.

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Supervision order
A supervision order is a half way house measure-the Court can make a supervision order prior to deciding on the merits of making a care order and involves the HSE calling to the child’s house to check on the welfare of the child and to advise the parents about caring for the child.

Parents can be guilty of a criminal offence if they do not comply with the supervision order.

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Interim care order

An interim care order is a care order for a short period of time-up to 28 days-and is designed to protect the child in the short term. An interim order can be longer than 28 days if the parents consent.

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Guardian ad litem

The Child Care Act 1991 introduced into Irish law the “guardian ad litem” which is a court appointed person to represent the child’s interests in any proceedings under the Act; he/she is independent of both the HSE and the child’s parents.

Maura Hurley Solicitors can provide child law advice in relation to the protection of children in emergencies in seeking to obtain an emergency care order, and by taking action to compel the HSE to decide on a Care order, Interim care order, Supervision order and the appointment of a Guardian ad Litem.

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