On Saturday 10th November you will get an opportunity to vote on the Children’s Rights Referendum. By voting yes, we will give children clear constitutional protection and confirm that as a society, we value all children.
I have set out the exact wording of the Amendment below.
• It ensures that the interest of the child will be paramount when decisions are being made about who shall care for them.
• It allows the adoption of thousands of children who have been living with a long-term foster family (This is basically blocked currently because you have to prove that the natural parents will never take up their duties.)
• In exceptional cases it allows the State to intervene where the child’s safety or welfare is at risk, but only to intervene in a proportionate way.
Our Constitution has up to now been silent on the rights of children. This is a huge gap. Children have suffered appalling neglect in the past. We need to enshrine their rights in our most important legal document.
This Referendum won’t remedy all problems, but it is an important set of guiding principles for our public authorities and our courts.
Fine Gael in government is committed to enhancing our child protection services. We have:
• Appointed the first ever Senior Cabinet Minister for Children and Youth Affairs
• Appointed 86 additional Social Workers
• Strengthened Child Protection Laws
• Committed to establishing a new Child and Family Support Agency to be a specialist service for child protection
I would strongly encourage you to vote yes in this Referendum.
Richard Bruton TD
Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Continue Reading