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Child care applications up 15 per cent in 2012, wide variations between towns

The figures are contained in the latest volume of the Child Care Law Reporting Project, which also details several high-profile cases.

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THE FOURTH VOLUME of the Child Care Law Reporting Project, which outlines in detail a number of high-profile cases, has been published.

It reveals a 15 per cent rise in the number of child care applications made in the District Court system in 2012.

This figure stood at 9315 in 2012, up 1206 from the year previous.

These Court Service statistics, supplied to FLAC and the Child Care Law Reporting Project, outline the number cases taken in the courts and are not directly related to the number of children involved. The figures do not include cases of voluntary care as they do not come before the courts.

A large variation in the number of child care applications between towns of a similar size is noted in the report, with Letterkenny seeing 229 applications compared to just 38 in Mullingar, a town with a similar population.

Dublin had the highest number of applications, with just under half being granted.

Other areas granted 100 per cent applications, such as Limerick (500), Clonmel (427 applications), Tralee (176) and Trim (140).

Of the total 424 Emergency Care Orders granted, some of the areas with the highest number of applications were:

  • Dublin (92)
  • Limerick (65)
  • Tralee/Listowel (35)
  • Galway (29)
  • Waterford (25)

The report outlines 13 cases, ranging from the Emergency Care Order hearing where a Roma girl was taken from her parents due to concerns that she was not the natural child of her parents, providing detail on how the in camera rule was breached during the case, to an African family subject to allegations that the parents were using excessive physical discipline against their children, and were ordered to participate in a HSE parenting programme.

Extensive detail of a non-accidental injury case is also outlined, which resulted in a one-year Care Order for the child and her brother, subject family involved taking part in a HSE programme.

While this is less than the usual amount of cases outlined in such reports, FLAC say this is due to the length of some of the cases involved, spanning over several months.

The Child Care Law Reporting Project is an independent body suppotered by One Foundation, Atlantic Philanthropies and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

Read: Childcare costs two-child families €16,500 annually >

More: This is how Ireland intends to change ‘outdated’ laws on bringing up children >

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Nicky Ryan

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