Doing what’s best for children
Your rights under the UNCRC
UNCRC, Article 3: It’s your right that adults should make decisions based on what’s best for you.
Your rights under Irish law
- Under Article 42A of the Irish Constitution, it’s your right that courts consider a child’s best interests in family law and child care cases.
- Under the Adoption Act 2010, it’s your right that your welfare is the most important thing for professionals to think about when considering who is to adopt you.
- Under the Child and Family Agency Act 2013 (creation of Tusla), it’s your right that Tusla thinks about your best interests when making decisions about you.
Did you know?
- Tusla was set up in 2014. Many of the people working there are social workers and part of their job is to improve the wellbeing and outcomes for children in Ireland, and to look at what is best for children.
- The number of child welfare and protection referrals to Tusla increased by 8.5% between 2012 and 2015 (State of the Nation’s Children 2016).
- The ISPCC Childhood Support Service worked with 552 children in 2016, giving one-to-one support to young people. Tusla or teachers usually refer children with low self-esteem or who need behavioural support to this programme.
- There was a referendum in Ireland in 2012 where people voted to specifically include children’s rights in the Irish Constitution. The vote passed by 58% and having children’s rights in the constitution is leading to more laws that protect children’s rights.
- A Guardian ad Litem (Guardian at Law) supports children involved in certain kinds of legal cases in the courts. The Guardian’s job is to tell the judge what the child’s wishes are and to give advice on what is best for the child.
- There were 65 Guardians ad Litem (GAL) in Ireland in 2016 (CRA Report Card 2017). A new law is being developed at the moment which may result in more children having a Guardian when a court is considering their care.
- In 2016, there were 1,583,004 children and young people aged 24 and under living in Ireland.12 This represented a third of the total population. Of these, 51% were male and 49% were female. (Better Outcomes, Better Futures Indicators 2017)
- In Ireland, there are many organisations that are dedicated to the best interests of children. To find out more about the work some of the organisations do, go to the find out more section.
Hear your right – read by Oisín McCooey
Ba chóir do gach duine fásta a ndícheall a dhéanamh ar do shon. Nuair a dhéanann daoine fásta cinntí, ba chóir go gcuirfidís san áireamh conas a rachadh na cinntí sin i bhfeidhm ar leanaí.
Éist le do chearta – léite ag Caoimhe Ní Scolaí
What children and young people are saying
Find out more
- Barnardos – Barnardos has information about the role of a Guardian ad Litem to advise on the best interests of the child in care and family law cases
- EPIC – EPIC has information about the rights of children in care, including children’s right to have all decisions about their care made in their best interests
Explore More – Resource materials for Teachers & Educators
- UNICEF – ‘My World’. Discussion points and images to support young people to explore issues relating to the environment and climate change in terms of the best interests of the child. In Picture Your Rights (2015)
- BelongTo - ‘Stand Up’ Videos and Posters that address homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools and youth services by encouraging friendship and positive understanding of LGBT young people
- IHREC – Human Rights, Equality and Teacher Education. A guide that supports teacher educators in the design and delivery of equality and human rights.
- Plan International - ‘Girls’ Rights platform’. Factsheets, quizes and resources that focus on girls’s rights being human rights and why it is important to acknowledge it (2018).