Wednesday, 23rd May 2012
"For the first time Child Protection is on everybody's agenda, and that's a very welcome development," says the Vice Chair of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children, Deputy Ciara Conway.
The Committee has been hearing evidence from the government interdepartmental group on child protection, in a development being praised by the Labour T.D. for Waterford, Ciara Conway.
"What we've heard this week is that each Minister will have to report to the Minister for Children, Frances Fitzgerald, on the progress and implementation of new working procedures in their Department in relation to child protection.
"Child Protection is not the sole responsibility of any one Department or organisation, and I have been calling for some time for greater interdepartmental cooperation when addressing the needs and concerns of children.
"The onus is on all of us to have our eyes open, all of the time. This is most evident in the heart-breaking child death enquiry of Victoria Climbié, who was tragically died in the UK in 2000.
"The findings of the enquiry into her death by Lord Lamming transformed the practice and culture of child protection services as a result.
"This report makes for disturbing reading, as it states that Victoria's death was preventable, but she slipped through the cracks. This child was failed by the Church, the NHS, the NSPCC, local authorities, schools and police, and indeed it was a taxi driver who saw her poor condition and brought her to hospital. Unfortunately at that stage it was much too late and she died of malnutrition.
"I was heartened to hear from the Assistant Principal Officer at the Department of Children that every referral received is assessed. It is vital that we all work together in spotting the signs of neglect and abuse, and that we act on these so that we can intervene in preventative way."
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