19 May 2009
GAL ‘Giving a voice to children’s wishes, feelings and interests’
Press Release: Issued by the Children Acts Advisory Board
Tuesday, 19th May 2009
‘Giving a voice to children’s wishes, feelings and interests.’
The Children Acts Advisory Board (CAAB) today formally launched guidance on the role, criteria for appointment, training and qualifications of Guardians ad Litem appointed in proceedings under the Child Care Act, 1991.
The publication of this guidance is an initial step that will ultimately ensure that the voice of the child can always be appropriately heard in child care proceedings. According to the Chief Executive, CAAB Aidan Browne, ‘the title of the guidance captures the key message in giving a voice to children’s wishes, feelings and interests’.
The preparation of this document involved a consultative group comprising all the key stakeholders under the direction of the CAAB. There was also a public advertisement inviting submissions to ensure the widest possible consultation and engagement. An agreed definition of the role of a Guardian ad Litem is to ‘independently establish the wishes, feelings and interests of the child and present them to the court with recommendations’. There is a general consensus that the Child Care Act, 1991 lacked any specific detail regarding the functions and duties of the Guardian ad Litem. In devising this guidance, a common sense approach has been taken based on practical experience and input from key practitioners including the children/young people. The guidance seeks to standardise the provision of Guardian ad Litem services nationally as well as assisting the courts in determining the need for and appointment of Guardians ad Litem in specific cases.
The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Mr. Barry Andrews T.D. formally launched the guidance at Buswells Hotel, Dublin 2 to an invited audience.
To access a PDF copy of the guidance document please click. ‘Giving a voice to children’s wishes, feelings and interests’