Benignus Ndubuisi – MSc in Applied Psychology
Philosophical and Professional Issues in Applied Psychology (PS7060)
Date of submission – 24/06/2013
Children first national guidance for the protection and welfare of children: A critical examination
Table of Contents
* Overview 3
* Children first national guidance and the Constitution 3
* Clinical relevance 8
* Conclusion 11
* References 12
This essay examined the Children First National Guidance (2011) document for the protection and welfare of children in Ireland. It focused on the rationale, aims, principles and policies of best practice in working ...view middle of the document...
One of the Government’s efforts at doing this was the publication and launching of the Children First National Guidance (2011), whose implementation the Government has upheld by enacting some legislations that make it a statutory duty for every person working with children to comply with the Children First national Guidance (Fitzgerald, TD, 2011). Consequently, the recent Children First Bill 2012, Criminal Justice (Withholding of Information on Offences against Children & Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 and the National Vetting Bureau (Children & Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 seek to enhance its enforcement. For instance, part of Article 42A of the Irish Constitution states:
1 The State recognises and affirms the natural and imprescriptible rights of all children and shall, as far as practicable, by its laws protect and vindicate those rights.
2 1° In exceptional cases, where the parents, regardless of their marital status, fail in their duty towards their children to such extent that the safety or welfare of any of their children is likely to be prejudicially affected, the State as guardian of the common good shall, by proportionate means as provided by law, endeavour to supply the place of the parents, but always with due regard for the natural and imprescriptible rights of the child... (Thirty-first Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2012).
This whole Bill also ensures that no child will be discriminated against regardless of his/her parents’ marital status in consideration of child care proceedings, family law proceedings, access to adoption and deliberation of their best interests and views (Explanatory Memorandum, 2012). In the Children’s Rights Alliance interpretation of this Bill, it is argued that: “For the first time, the Constitution is able to take a child-centred approach to the protection of all children and allow the State to better support families who are struggling, rather than wait for a situation to reach crisis point” (Children’s Rights Alliance, 2012).
This constitutional amendment is aimed at complementing Article 41.1 of the Irish Constitution that recognizes the right of the family; which reads:
1° The State recognises the Family as the natural primary and fundamental unit group of Society, and as a moral institution possessing inalienable and imprescriptible rights, antecedent and superior to all positive law.
2° The State, therefore, guarantees to protect the Family in its constitution and authority, as the necessary basis of social order and as indispensable to the welfare of the Nation and the State.
These constitutional provisions are incorporated in the writing of the Children First National Guidance (2011). However, given numerous ignoble evidences of abuse of children in institutions, community settings and families, the Children First document, just like Article 42A of the Irish Constitution, endeavours to ensure “that children are safe and protected in all aspects of their lives –...