Tusla conference examines proposed child care law reforms

Tusla conference examines proposed child care law reforms

Pictured (left–right): Tanya Ward, CEO, Children's Rights Alliance; Niall McGrath, solicitor; Pamela Benson, head of legal services, Tusla; Dr Niall Muldoon, Ombudsman for Children; Kate Duggan, CEO, Tusla; and Bernard Gloster, CEO, HSE.

Tusla yesterday welcomed a wide range of stakeholders to its second Child Care Law Conference, which put on a spotlight on inter-agency cooperation and looked ahead to proposed reforms to child care law.

Speakers at the conference in Mansion House covered topics including the general scheme of the Child Care (Amendment) Bill 2023, which was published last year, and separated children seeking international protection.

Officially opened by Tusla chairperson Pat Rabbitte, the conference included presentations from, among others, Kate Duggan, CEO of Tusla; Bernie McNally, independent chair of the Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland; and Tanya Ward, CEO of the Children’s Rights Alliance.

The conference also included a number of panel discussions with panellists including Bernard Gloster, CEO of the HSE; Dr Niall Muldoon, the Ombudsman for Children; and former District Court judge Judge Dermot Simms.

Following a discussion and further panel session on separated children seeking international protection, the conference was closed by the president of the District Court, Judge Paul Kelly.

Commenting on the conference, Kate Duggan, CEO of Tusla, said: “Inter-agency cooperation is a crucial component of improving outcomes for children, families, and communities.

“Today was an opportunity for key stakeholders to come together, to reflect on the legislative, policy and operational changes that are required across state agencies and departments, to keep children and young people safer, and to better support them to achieve their potential.”

Pamela Benson, head of legal services at Tusla, added: “Legislation is fundamental to child protection practice, and it is important that legislation evolves to better serve the interests of children and families.

“Tusla’s Child Care Law Conference 2024 set out to instigate robust discussion amongst stakeholders around some of the topics proposed under the general scheme of a Child Care (Amendment) Bill 2023. It is key that stakeholders have an opportunity to provide feedback based on their experiences in working with children and families.

“I want to thank all of our speakers, panellists, and stakeholders who attended the conference and contributed so much to the ongoing discussions.”

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