The Child Care (Amendment) Act, 2011 provides for the High Court to have statutory jurisdiction to hear applications by the HSE for special care orders or interim special care orders and related matters in respect of children where their welfare may require their detention in a special care unit. The Bill also provides that special care units will be inspected under the Health Act 2007. This Bill also provides for the dissolution of the Children Acts Advisory Board.
The Criminal Justice Act, 2006 further amends and enhances the Children Act, 2001. The Children Act became law on the 8th of July 2001, and (including legislative amendments) is now fully commenced. The policy and operational delivery of the Children Act, 2001 involves delivery by three government departments and a number of agencies including, An Garda Síochána, The Probation Service, the Irish Youth Justice Service, the Health Service Executive and the Courts Service. The Act covers a number of distinct but interrelated programmes, services and practises. These include the Garda Diversion Programme, the age of criminal responsibility, the Children Courts and proceedings in court, the children detention schools and various community probation orders.
The Children Act, 2001 puts in place a modern statutory framework for the treatment of children in conflict with the law and has a number of new approaches and initiatives designed to target the background circumstances of offending children. Prior to the Children Act, 2001 the Children Act, 1908 provided the primary statutory basis for the treatment of children in conflict with the law in Ireland for nearly a century. Therefore the Children Act, 2001 provides the basis for the most comprehensive reform of the Irish youth justice system in one hundred years.
The Child Care Act, 1991 (as amended) provides for the care and protection of children. The key areas relate to the promotion of the welfare of children, protection of children in emergencies, care proceedings, children in the care of the Health Service Executive and a new statutory special care scheme.
The role of the Children Acts Advisory Board (CAAB) is advisory to the Ministers (Health and Children, Justice, Equality and Law Reform) on policy issues related to the co-ordinated delivery of services under the Child Care Act, 1991 and the Children Act, 2001 (both as amended). The specific role and functions of the CAAB is described in more detail in the About Us section of this website.