Dáil Éireann - Volume 508 - 30 September, 1999
Written Answers. - Child Care Services.
Mr. Ferris Mr. Ferris
45. Mr. Ferris asked the Minister for Health and Children the cost of implementing the national guidelines for the protection and welfare of children; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18314/99]
Mr. Fahey Mr. Fahey
Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Mr. Fahey): New national guidelines entitled “Children First – National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children” were published on 21 September 1999. The Government has agreed that these national guidelines will be applied consistently by all health boards, Government Departments and organisations providing services to children.
Implementation of the guidelines will take some time and will require careful planning and co-ordination. My officials are liaising closely with health board management in this regard. An implementation group at health board level has been established and plans are under way to develop the implementation strategy necessary for the successful integration of the new guidelines into the day to day operations of the boards.
I have also recently sanctioned an additional post for the social services inspectorate. One of the main functions of this inspector will be to monitor the implementation of Children First at health board level.
The successful implementation of the guidelines will require development of a number of services, in particular training of relevant staff, establishment of the child protection notification system and a comprehensive computerised infor mation system in all health boards, continued strengthening of child protection services to ensure a prompt and thorough response to child protection concerns, establishment of a 24-hour duty system in health boards, and expansion of family support services.
The Government is fully committed to implementing the guidelines including the strengthening of child protection services as outlined. The requirement for funding in year 2000 is being discussed in the context of the 2000 Estimates.
I am also aware that the Departments of Education and Science and Justice, Equality and Law Reform are also at present identifying additional funding requirements for the implementation of the guidelines in relation to the training of teachers and the Garda Síochána.
Dáil Éireann 508 Written Answers. Child Care Services.