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Children First Bill 2014

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Snippet Contents:

I accept the Minister’s bona fides in this regard. He has undertaken to review the provision in the future if it is not working satisfactorily. However, that goes for all legislation. The reason we are putting the Children First guidelines on a statutory basis is we believe they are not working adequately and want to ensure there is a legal requirement to ensure their implementation. By virtue of this, we are acknowledging the current system is not fit for purpose and want to improve the status quo.
Parents can satisfy themselves on the standards applied in, say, a crèche. However, what happens if its safeguarding statement is out of date? What happens if it is published one month but not subsequently? If a crèche is reported as a consequence, the Minister considers it is appropriate enough to name and shame rather than have meaningful sanctions.
The proposal to introduce tough and robust sanctions came from the Department under the then Minister, Deputy Frances Fitzgerald, in 2011 when the legislation was first proposed. The proposed sanctions included up to five years’ imprisonment. Why has there been such a change in the intervening period?
The Minister has claimed this provision will be under review. There will be an election in eight months. Without wishing either of us ill luck, who knows if we will be back in this House? With all due respect, a personal undertaking is not worth the paper on which it is written. If this does not work, how we can ensure child care facilities will become subject to investigation by HIQA and face sanction?