THE OIREACHTAS HEALTH Committee is to discuss the heads of the Children First Bill further today as it meets with a number of key stakeholders and interest groups.
Gordon Jeyes, national director of children and family services in the HSE will attend the meeting this morning, along with Professor Helen Buckley from the School of Social Work and Social Policy at Trinity College and Special Rapporteur on Child Protection Dr Geoffrey Shannon.
The purpose of the Bill is to put Children First: National guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children on a statutory basis.
The Children’s Minister has sent the proposed bill to the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children for consultation before it is finalised. Chairman Jerry Buttimer has explained that Frances Fitzgerald wants his committee to take an active role in preparing the legislation.
“For the Children First legislation to be effective, we must engage with and have an open dialogue with those groups who will be working with it on a daily basis,” he said. “Our meeting will also allow members of the Committee to be fully informed and enable us to provide meaningful input into the legislation, make observations and suggestions before the bill comes before the Dáil and Seanad.”
The Bill will place an obligation on those working with or having access to children to report to the HSE incidents of neglect, abuse or allegations of abuse with a view to ensuring an appropriate response.
Watch proceedings live here from 11.30am in Committee Room Two.