THE OMBUDSMAN FOR Children is to appear before the Oireachtas Health Committee this afternoon to discuss new legislation about the protection and welfare of children.
Emily Logan will give her views of the Children First Bill to the politicians tasked with drafting the legislation which will see the national guidance for the protection and welfare of children given a statutory footing.
Children’s Minister Frances Fitzgerald has sent the Heads of the Bill to the committee for consultation ahead of it being finalised.
Chairman Jerry Buttimer said that in order for the legislation to be effective, the committee needs to “engage with and have an open dialogue” with those groups who will be working with it on a daily basis.
“Over the past number of weeks, we met with a variety of interested parties and stakeholders to get their contributions to the drafting of this legislation which will provide the necessary safeguards to protect children and combat child abuse and neglect,” he added.
The aim of the hearings was to 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 hearings and presentations made by the various groups and stakeholders will help inform the report which we will prepare on the Children First legislation which will then be forwarded to Minister Fitzgerald.
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 2.30pm in Committee Room Two.