Dáil Éireann - Volume 608 - 25 October, 2005
Written Answers. - Legislative Programme.
Mr. Cuffe Mr. Cuffe
496. Mr. Cuffe asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the sections of the Children Act 2001 that have been brought into force and his timetable for the introduction of the remaining sections. [30600/05]
Mr. McDowell Mr. McDowell
Mr. McDowell:The Deputy will appreciate that the Children Act 2001 is complex and comprehensive legislation and, for those reasons, provisions under the Act are being implemented on a phased basis, as was envisaged at the time of enactment. Responsibility for implementing the Children Act 2001 lies with the Departments of Justice, Equality and Law Reform and Education and Science in respect of the juvenile offenders and the Department of Health and Children in respect of children who are not offending but are out of control.
The first commencement order under the Act in respect of my Department was signed by my predecessor on 23 April 2002. The order brought into operation on 1 May 2002 several sections of the Act with reference to particular purposes or provisions as well as the following Parts and sections in full: Part IV, diversion programmes including the Garda restorative justice provisions; most of Part VI, treatment of child suspects in Garda stations; Part VII, Children’s Court; and Part XII, child protection measures. Among the other provisions which were brought into operation on 1 May 2002 were the payment of compensation by parents in respect of offences committed by their children, section 113 of the Act; a court order which would require parents to exercise proper and adequate control over their children, section 114 of the Act; and a restriction on  movement order. I signed the second commencement order under the Act on 29 July 2004. This order brought into operation the remaining restorative justice provisions of sections 78 to 87 of the Act.
A pilot mentor project has commenced in the north Dublin area. The programme will serve as a model for the development of the mentor — family support — order. A pilot parental supervision programme has also commenced. Other provisions under the Act require capital investment prior to commencement for buildings, equipment and expanding programmes. Work is already under way on certain provisions.
A new probation office which is due to open in Cork very shortly will have provision for meeting the requirements of the day centre order, Part IX, sections 118 to 123. The development of a similar provision for the Tallaght area has been incorporated into plans for the new Tallaght probation and welfare service office which is expected to be completed in 2006.
With regard to the probation — training or activities programme — order, Part IX, section 124, the probation and welfare service has identified programmes already being funded through the service that meet the service requirements under this sanction. In addition, the service is also working toward the development of additional facilities suitable for use.
With regard to the probation — intensive supervision — order, Part IX, section 125, preliminary meetings have taken place to explore the feasibility of establishing two pilot intensive supervision programmes in Cork and Dublin utilising existing intensive probation supervision projects. Preparatory work is ongoing in this regard.
In terms of the probation — residential supervision — order, Part IX, sections 126 and 127, a document has been prepared outlining standards for probation and welfare service funded hostels. In preparation for meeting these standards, staff of hostels will require training and development. Work is under way to identify suitable training which will meet these needs and training will be organised for staff over the coming months. Inspection of the hostels in accordance with Section 126(4) of the Act has commenced. In addition, Cork probation hostel has been extended and refurbished to meet the required standards and this hostel is expected to reopen very shortly.
The suitable person — care and supervision — order, Part IX, sections 129 and 130, will require the same rigorous recruitment, screening and training elements as outlined in the standards on practices and procedures in foster care. Suitable persons will have to be recruited and trained. Work on implementation of this order is expected to commence early next year. The dual order, Part IX, sections 137 to 139, sanction will be  developed on a phased basis as day centres become available.
Under the Children Act, I, as Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform will be obliged to provide separate detention facilities for 16 and 17 year old boys and girls who are committed to custody by the courts on remand or under sentence. The primary objective of these detention centres will be to provide a secure but supportive environment in which young offenders can develop the personal and social skills necessary to avoid future offending. The Minister of State at my Department, Deputy Brian Lenihan, who has responsibility for children, is examining the outcome of a recent review in my Department of the scope for rationalising and restructuring the delivery of the State’s services in the area of youth justice in accordance with the Children Act 2001. The intention is to bring proposals arising from this examination to Government in the very near future, including proposals in the area of detention.
Dáil Éireann 608 Written Answers. Legislative Programme.