Child Care (Amendment) Bill Makes Provisions For Aftercare

The Child Care (Amendment) Bill 2015 has been published, making provisions for the first time for a statutory right to an aftercare plan for eligible children and young people.

Welcoming the publication, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr James Reilly, said: "I am delighted to have this Bill published and look forward to bringing it before the Oireachtas for consideration. This Bill builds on the progress made in relation to the provision of aftercare in the recent past and will provide, as a right, for eligible children and young people to have a plan for their transition from State care into independent living, prepared by Tusla the Child and Family Agency."

Aftercare is the term used to describe the planning and support put in place to meet the needs of a young person who is leaving statutory care at 18 years of age, to assist him or her in making the transition to independent living.

The Bill obliges Tusla, the Child and Family Agency to prepare an aftercare plan for an eligible child or eligible young person. Tusla will, when the Bill is enacted, have a duty to identify the child or young person's need for assistance and to prepare a plan that identifies the relevant aftercare supports.

Under the provisions contained in the Bill, the Child Care Act 1991 will be amended and an obligation placed on the Child and Family Agency:

• to prepare an aftercare plan for an eligible child before they reach the age of 18,

• to prepare an aftercare plan, on request, for an eligible adult aged 18, 19 or 20 , and

• in relation to an eligible adult to review the operation of an aftercare plan where there has been a change in that adult's circumstances or additional needs have arisen.

Minister Reilly added: "A decade ago aftercare was non-existent. We have now moved to the point where young people leaving care will have a right to an aftercare plan. This has come about in recognition of the particular challenges linked to moving into independent adult living – challenges shared by all young people but that may prove a greater hurdle for some leaving State care. This Bill is a significant development. This Bill, the establishment of Tusla and the very positive responses received from key stakeholders in terms of recognising and responding to the particular vulnerability attached to some care leavers lays the foundations for better aftercare support."


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