Child Care Act 1991


Number 17 of 1991


CHILD CARE ACT 1991

REVISED

Updated to 31 December 2017


This Revised Act is an administrative consolidation of the Child Care Act 1991. It is prepared by the Law Reform Commission in accordance with its function under the Law Reform Commission Act 1975 (3/1975) to keep the law under review and to undertake revision and consolidation of statute law.

All Acts up to and including Finance Act 2017 (41/2017), enacted 25 December 2017, and all statutory instruments up to and including Legal Metrology (Measuring Instruments) Act 2017 (Commencement) Order 2018 (S.I. No. 1 of 2018), made 4 January 2018, were considered in the preparation of this Revised Act.

Disclaimer: While every care has been taken in the preparation of this Revised Act, the Law Reform Commission can assume no responsibility for and give no guarantees, undertakings or warranties concerning the accuracy, completeness or up to date nature of the information provided and does not accept any liability whatsoever arising from any errors or omissions. Please notify any errors, omissions and comments by email to

revisedacts@lawreform.ie.


Number 17 of 1991


CHILD CARE ACT 1991

REVISED

Updated to 31 December 2017


Introduction

This Revised Act presents the text of the Act as it has been amended since enactment, and preserves the format in which it was first passed.

Related legislation

Child Care Acts 1991 to 2015 : this Act is one of a group of Acts included in this collective citation, to be construed together as one ( Child Care (Amendment) Act 2015 (45/2015), s. 16(2)). The Acts in this group are:

Child Care Act 1991 (17/1991)

Children Act 2001 (24/2001), ss. 7-15 and 267

Health Act 2004 (42/2004), s. 75 in so far as it amends the Child Care Acts 1991 and 2001

Child Care (Amendment) Act 2007 (26/2007), s. 1(2), pt. 2 and s. 21 in so far as it amends the Child Care Acts 1991 and 2001

Child Care (Amendment) Act 2011 (19/2011), ss. 1-26, 28-31, 34, 36, 46, 48

Child Care (Amendment) Act 2013 (5/2013)

Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 (9/2015), s. 175

Child Care (Amendment) Act 2015 (45/2015), other than ss. 14 and 15

Annotations

This Revised Act is annotated and includes textual and non-textual amendments, statutory instruments made pursuant to the Act and previous affecting provisions. A version without annotations, showing only textual amendments, is also available.

An explanation of how to read annotations is available at

www.lawreform.ie/annotations.

Material not updated in this revision

Where other legislation is amended by this Act, those amendments may have been superseded by other amendments in other legislation, or the amended legislation may have been repealed or revoked. This information is not represented in this revision but will be reflected in a revision of the amended legislation if one is available.

Where legislation or a fragment of legislation is referred to in annotations, changes to this legislation or fragment may not be reflected in this revision but will be reflected in a revision of the legislation referred to if one is available.

A list of legislative changes to any Act, and to statutory instruments from 1990, may be found linked from the page of the Act or statutory instrument at

www.irishstatutebook.ie.

Acts which affect or previously affected this revision

Child Care (Amendment) Act 2015 (45/2015)

Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 (9/2015)

Child and Family Agency Act 2013 (40/2013)

Courts and Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2013 (32/2013)

Child Care (Amendment) Act 2013 (5/2013)

Child Care (Amendment) Act 2011 (19/2011)

Adoption Act 2010 (21/2010)

Child Care (Amendment) Act 2007 (26/2007)

Health Act 2007 (23/2007)

Health Act 2004 (42/2004)

Mental Health Act 2001 (25/2001)

Children Act 2001 (24/2001)

Children Act 1997 (40/1997)

Refugee Act 1996 (17/1996)

Domestic Violence Act 1996 (1/1996)

All Acts up to and including Finance Act 2017 (41/2017), enacted 25 December 2017, were considered in the preparation of this revision.

Statutory instruments which affect or previously affected this revision

Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 (S.I. No. 632 of 2016)

Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016 (S.I. No. 221 of 2016)

Child Care (Placement of Children with Relatives) (Amendment) Regulations 2015 (S.I. No. 607 of 2015)

Child Care (Placement of Children in Foster Care) (Amendment) Regulations 2015 (S.I. No. 606 of 2015)

Child Care (Placement of Children in Residential Care) (Amendment) Regulations 2015 (S.I. No. 605 of 2015)

Supreme Court and High Court (Fees) (No. 2) Order 2013 (S.I. No. 466 of 2013)

Supreme Court and High Court (Fees) Order 2013 (S.I. No. 239 of 2013)

Child Care Act 1991 (Section 29(7)) Regulations (S.I. No. 467 of 2012)

Supreme Court and High Court (Fees) Order 2012 (S.I. No. 110 of 2012)

Child Care (Transfer of Departmental Administration and Ministerial Functions) Order 2011 (S.I. No. 488 of 2011)

Finance (Transfer of Departmental Administration and Ministerial Functions) Order 2011 (S.I. No. 418 of 2011)

Supreme Court and High Court (Fees) Order 2011 (S.I. No. 406 of 2011)

Supreme Court and High Court (Fees) Order 2008 (S.I. No. 200 of 2008)

Child Care (Pre-School Services) (No2) (Amendment) Regulations 2006 (S.I. No. 643 of 2006)

Child Care (Pre-School Services) (No2) Regulations 2006 (S.I. No. 604 of 2006)

Child Care (Pre-School Services) Regulations 2006 (S.I. No. 505 of 2006)

Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004 (Section 40(4)) Order 2005 (S.I. No. 338 of 2005)

Supreme Court and High Court (Fees) Order 2005 (S.I. No. 70 of 2005)

Child Care Act 1991 (Children’s Residential Centres) (Superannuation) Order 2004 (S.I. No. 863 of 2004)

Child Care (Special Care) Regulations 2004 (S.I. No. 550 of 2004)

Child Care Act 1991 (Commencement) Order 2004 (S.I. No. 547 of 2004)

Supreme Court and High Court (Fees) Order 2004 (S.I. No. 444 of 2004)

Child Care (Pre-School Services) (Amendment) Regulations 1997 (S.I. No. 268 of 1997)

Child Care Act 1991 (Commencement) Order 1996 (S.I. No. 399 of 1996)

Child Care (Pre-School Services) Regulations 1996 (S.I. No. 398 of 1996)

Child Care (Standards in Children’s Residential Centres) Regulations 1996 (S.I. No. 397 of 1996)

Child Care (Placement of Children With Relatives) Regulations 1995 (S.I. No. 261 of 1995)

Child Care (Placement of Children in Foster Care) Regulations 1995 (S.I. No. 260 of 1995)

Child Care (Placement of Children in Residential Care) Regulations 1995 (S.I. No. 259 of 1995)

Child Care Act 1991 (Commencement) Order 1995 (S.I. No. 258 of 1995)

Child Care Act 1991 (Commencement) (No. 3) Order 1992 (S.I. No. 349 of 1992)

Child Care Act 1991 (Commencement) (No. 2) Order 1992 (S.I. No. 264 of 1992)

Child Care Act 1991 (Children’s Residential Centres) (Superannuation) (No. 2) Order 1992 (S.I. No. 125 of 1992)

Child Care Act 1991 (Children’s Residential Centres) (Superannuation) Order 1992 (S.I. No. 124 of 1992)

Child Care Act 1991 (Commencement) Order 1992 (S.I. No. 123 of 1992)

Child Care Act 1991 (Commencement) Order (S.I. No. 292 of 1991)

All statutory instruments up to and including Legal Metrology (Measuring Instruments) Act 2017 (Commencement) Order 2018 (S.I. No. 1 of 2018), made 4 January 2018, were considered in the preparation of this revision.


Number 17 of 1991


CHILD CARE ACT 1991

REVISED

Updated to 31 December 2017


ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

Section

1.

Short title and commencement.

2.

Interpretation.

PART II

Promotion of Welfare of Children

3.

Functions of Child and Family Agency.

4.

Voluntary care.

5.

Accommodation for homeless children.

6.

Provision of adoption service.

7.

Child care advisory committees.

8.

Review of services.

9.

Provision of services by voluntary bodies and other persons.

10.

Assistance for voluntary bodies and other persons.

11.

Research.

PART III

Protection of Children in Emergencies

12.

Power of Garda Síochána to take a child to safety.

13.

Emergency care order.

14.

Notification to be given by Child and Family Agency.

15.

Provision of accommodation for purposes of Part III .

PART IV

Care Proceedings

16.

Duty of Child and Family Agency to institute proceedings.

17.

Interim care order.

18.

Care order.

19.

Supervision order.

20.

Proceedings under Guardianship of Infants Act, 1964, Judicial Separation and Family Law Reform Act, 1989, etc.

21.

Effect of appeal from orders.

22.

Variation or discharge of orders etc.

23.

Powers of court in case of invalidity of orders.

PART IVA

Children in need of Special Care or Protection

23A.

Interpretation.

23B.

Provision of special care and special care units.

23C.

Special care.

23D.

Criminal proceedings and provision of special care.

23E.

Custodial sentence, deferred children detention order, Children Act order and provision of special care.

23F.

Determination by Health Service Executive that child requires special care.

23G.

Notice of application for special care order or interim special care order.

23H.

Special care order.

23I.

Review of special care order.

23J.

Extension of period for which special care order has effect.

23K.

Special care before determination under section 23F.

23L.

Interim special care order.

23M.

Interim special care orders made ex parte: supplemental provisions.

23N.

Extension of period for which interim special care order has effect.

23NA.

Sections 23H and 23L: supplemental provisions.

23NB.

Failure to find child.

23NC.

Appeal and staying of order.

23ND.

Functions of Child and Family Agency when providing special care.

23NE.

Discharge and variation of special care order or interim special care order.

23NF.

Release from special care unit under special care order or interim special care order.

23NG.

Release from special care unit for purposes of sections 23D and 23E.

23NH.

Hearing of proceedings.

23NI.

Return of child to Child and Family Agency in certain circumstances.

23NJ.

Applications for special care orders or interim special care orders generally.

23NK.

Application for directions.

23NL.

Existing orders.

23NM.

Provision of information to certain persons.

23NN.

Request for appraisal of special care provided to child.

23NO.

Guidelines.

23NP.

Offences.

PART IVB

Private Foster Care

23O.

Definitions.

23P.

Notice of private foster care arrangement.

23Q.

Information to be submitted to Child and Family Agency.

23R.

Duty in respect of children in private foster care.

23S.

Authorised officers.

23T.

Inspection by authorised persons.

23U.

Institution of proceedings by Child and Family Agency.

23V.

Restrictions on private foster care arrangements in certain cases.

23W.

Offences.

23X.

Saver.

PART V

Jurisdiction and Procedure

24.

Welfare of child to be paramount.

25.

Power of court to join child as a party and costs of child as a party.

26.

Appointment of guardian ad litem for a child.

27.

Power to procure reports on children.

28.

Jurisdiction.

29.

Hearing of proceedings.

30.

Power to proceed in absence of child.

31.

Prohibition on publication or broadcast of certain matters.

32.

Presumption and determination of age.

33.

Rules of court.

34.

Failure or refusal to deliver up a child.

35.

Warrant to search for and deliver up a child.

PART VI

Children in the Care of Child and Family Agency

36.

Accommodation and maintenance of children in care.

37.

Access to children in care.

38.

Provision of residential care by Child and Family Agency.

39.

Regulations as to foster care.

40.

Regulations as to residential care.

41.

Regulations as to placement with relatives.

42.

Review of cases of children in care.

43.

Removal from placement.

43A.

Orders relating to children in care of same foster parent or relative for five years or more.

43B.

Variation, discharge or cessation of order under section 43A.

44.

Children who become adopted.

45.

Aftercare plan.

45A.

Assessment of need.

45B.

Aftercare plan - eligible child.

45C.

Aftercare plan - eligible adult.

45D.

Review and update of aftercare plan.

46.

Recovery of children removed from care etc.

47.

Application for directions.

48.

Transitional provisions.

PART VII

Supervision of Pre-School Services

49.

Definitions for Part VII .

50.

Regulations as to pre-school services.

51.

Notice to Health Service Executive.

52.

Duty of person carrying on pre-school service.

53.

Supervision of pre-school services.

54.

Authorised persons.

55.

Inspection by authorised persons.

56.

Provision by health boards of pre-school services and information.

57.

Offences under Part VII .

58.

Exemptions from provisions of this Part.

PART VIIA

Supervision of Pre-School Services

58A.

Definitions for this Part.

58B.

Regulations.

58C.

Register.

58D.

Registration.

58E.

Notice to Health Service Executive.

58F.

Appeals to District Court.

58G.

Duty of person providing early years service.

58H.

Supervision of early years services.

58I.

Authorised persons.

58J.

Inspection by authorised persons.

58K.

Offences under Part VIIA.

58L.

Exemptions from provisions of this Part.

PART VIII

Children’s Residential Centres

59.

Definitions for Part VIII .

60.

Prohibition of unregistered children’s residential centres.

61.

Registration of children’s residential centres.

62.

Appeals.

63.

Regulations in relation to children’s residential centres.

64.

Offences under Part VIII .

65.

Discontinuance of centre.

66.

Superannuation of certain staff.

67.

Transitional provisions.

PART IX

Administration

68.

Regulations.

69.

Powers of the Minister.

70.

Charges for certain services.

71.

Prosecution of offences.

72.

Functions of chief executive officer.

73.

Expenses.

PART X

Miscellaneous and Supplementary

74.

Sale etc. of solvents.

75.

Amendment of section 17 of the School Attendance Act, 1926.

76.

Amendment of section 15 of the Guardianship of Infants Act, 1964.

77.

Amendment of section 16 of the Guardianship of Infants Act, 1964.

78.

Maintenance — saver in relation to members of Defence Forces.

79.

Repeals.

SCHEDULE

Enactments Repealed

Acts Referred to

Adoption Act, 1952

1952, No. 25

Adoption Act, 1964

1964, No. 2

Adoption Acts, 1952 to 1988

Children Act, 1908

8 Edw. 7, c. 67

Children Act, 1934

1934, No. 15

Children Act, 1941

1941, No. 12

Children (Amendment) Act, 1957

1957, No. 28

Children (Employment Abroad) Act, 1913

3 & 4 Geo. 5, c. 7

Courts Act, 1964

1964, No. 11

Courts Act, 1971

1971, No. 36

Defence Act, 1954

1954, No. 11

Guardianship of Infants Act, 1964

1964, No. 7

Health Act, 1953

1953, No. 26

Health Act, 1970

1970, No. 1

Health Acts, 1947 to 1986

Health (Amendment) Act, 1987

1987, No. 3

Interpretation Act, 1937

1937, No. 38

Judicial Separation and Family Law Reform Act, 1989

1989, No. 6

Local Government (Superannuation) Act, 1980

1980, No. 8

Mental Treatment Acts, 1945 to 1966

Misuse of Drugs Acts, 1977 and 1984

Prevention of Cruelty to Children Act, 1904

4 Edw. 7, c. 15

Petty Sessions (Ireland) Act, 1851

14 & 15 Vict., c. 93

Public Offices Fees Act, 1879

42 & 43 Vict., c. 58

School Attendance Act, 1926

1926, No. 17


Number 17 of 1991


CHILD CARE ACT 1991

REVISED

Updated to 31 December 2017


AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR THE CARE AND PROTECTION OF CHILDREN AND FOR RELATED MATTERS. [10 th July, 1991]

BE IT ENACTED BY THE OIREACHTAS AS FOLLOWS:

Annotations:

Modifications (not altering text):

C1

Certain functions of Health Service Executive in relation to Act transferred to Child and Family Agency (1.01.2014) by Child and Family Agency Act 2013 (40/2013), s. 82(2), S.I. No. 502 of 2013.

Transfer of certain functions of Health Service Executive.

82.— ...

(2) The functions vested in the Health Service Executive by or under the enactments specified in Schedule 1 shall, on the establishment day, stand transferred to the Agency.

...

SCHEDULE 1

Functions of Health Service Executive Transferred to Agency

...

Child Care Act 1991

...

C2

Functions transferred and “Department of Health” and “Minister for Health” construed (1.10.2011) by Child Care (Transfer of Departmental Administration and Ministerial Functions) Order 2011 (S.I. No. 488 of 2011), arts. 2, 3, 7, commenced as per. art. 1(2).

2.— (1) The administration and business in connection with the exercise, performance or execution of any functions transferred by Article 3 are transferred to the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

(2) References to the Department of Health contained in any Act or any instrument made thereunder and relating to any administration and business transferred by paragraph (1) shall, from the commencement of this Order, be construed as references to the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

3.— (1) The functions vested in the Minister for Health by or under the Child Care Acts 1991 to 2011 are transferred to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.

(2) References to the Minister for Health contained in any Act or instrument made thereunder and relating to any functions transferred by this Article shall, from the commencement of this Order, be construed as references to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.

...

7.—References to the Minister for Health contained in the memorandum and articles of association of any company and relating to any function transferred by this Order shall, from the commencement of this Order, be construed as references to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.

...

C3

Power of Court to make orders under Act provided (23.07.2007) by Children Act 2001 (24/2001), s. 77, S.I No. 524 of 2007.

Referral of case to [Health Service Executive].

77. (1) Where, in any proceedings in which a child is charged with an offence, it appears to the Court that it may be appropriate for a care order or a supervision order to be made under the Act of 1991 with respect to the child, the Court may, of its own motion or on the application of any person—

(a) adjourn the proceedings and direct the [Child and Family Agency ] to convene a family welfare conference in respect of the child [if in the Court’s view it is practicable for the [Child and Family Agency ] to hold such a conference having regard to the age of the child and his or her family and other circumstances, ] and

(b) [... ]

...

C4

Power of court to make orders under Act provided (27.03.1996) by Domestic Violence Act 1996 (1/1996), ss. 7 and 9, commenced as per s. 25(1).

Power to make orders, etc., under Child Care Act, 1991.

7. (1) Where in proceedings for any order under this Act, other than proceedings to which section 6 relates, it appears to the court that it may be appropriate for a care order or a supervision order to be made under the Child Care Act, 1991, with respect to a dependent person concerned in the proceedings, the court may, of its own motion or on the application of any person concerned, adjourn the proceedings and direct the [Child and Family Agency ] for the area in which such dependent person resides or is for the time being to undertake an investigation or, as the case may be, further investigations of such dependent person’s circumstances.

...

Hearing of applications under various Acts together.

9. (1) Where an application is made to the court for an order under this Act, the court may, on application to it in the same proceedings and without the institution of proceedings under the Act concerned, if it appears to the court to be proper to do so, make one or more of the orders referred to in subsection (2).

...

(d) an order under the Child Care Act, 1991 .

C5

Construction of references to “psychiatric examination, treatment or assessment” under Act restricted (1.11.2006) by Mental Health Act 2001 (25/2001), s. 25(15), S.I. No. 411 of 2006.

Involuntary admission of children.

25.— ...

(15) References in sections 13(7), 18(3) and 19(4) of the Child Care Act, 1991, to psychiatric examination, treatment or assessment do not include references to treatment under this Act.

Editorial Notes:

E1

Proceedings brought by Health Service Executive (now Child and Family Agency) under collectively cited Child Care Acts 1991 to 2013 exempted from fees (3.12.2013) by Supreme Court and High Court (Fees) (No. 2) Order 2013 (S.I. No. 466 of 2013), art. 5(1)(d)(iii).

E2

Setting of standards on safety and quality in relation to services provided by Health Service Executive, Child and Family Agency or a service provider in accordance with collectively cited Child Care Acts 1991 and 2001 assigned to Health Information and Quality Authority (15.07.2007) by Health Act 2007, s. 8(1)(b)(i)(II), S.I. No. 226 of 2007; as substituted (1.01.2014) by Child and Family Agency Act 2013 (40/2013), s. 97 and sch. 2, part 20 item 2.

E3

District Court confirmed as “Children Court” when exercising jurisdiction under pts. III, IV, IVA and V of Act (1.05.2002) by Children Act 2001 (24/2001), s. 71(1)(a), S.I. No. 151 of 2002.

E4

Application of Act extended to separated children by Refugee Act 1996 (17/1996), s. 8(5)(a) as substituted (7.07.1999) by Immigration Act 1999 (22/1999), s. 11(1)(c)(v), commenced on enactment; as amended (1.01.2005) by Health Act 2004 (42/2004), s. 75 and sch. 6, part 15 item 1(a), S.I. No. 887 of 2004; and as amended (1.01.2014) by Child and Family Agency Act 2013 (40/2013), s. 97 and sch. 2, part 8, S.I. No. 502 of 2013.

E5

Previous affecting provision: proceedings brought by the Health Service Executive under collectively cited Child Care Acts 1991 to 2013 exempted from fees (10.07.2013) by Supreme Court and High Court (Fees) Order 2013 (S.I. No. 239 of 2013), art. 6(1)(d)(iii); revoked (3.12.2013) by Supreme Court and High Court (Fees) (No. 2) Order 2013 (S.I. No. 466 of 2013), art. 10.

E6

Previous affecting provision: proceedings brought by Health Service Executive under collectively cited Child Care Acts 1991 to 2011 exempted from fees (10.04.2012) by Supreme Court and High Court (Fees) Order 2012 (S.I. No. 110 of 2012), art. 6(1)(d)(iii); revoked (10.07.2013) by Supreme Court and High Court (Fees) Order 2013 (S.I. No. 239 of 2013), art. 13.

E7

Previous affecting provision: proceedings brought by Health Service Executive under collectively cited Child Care Acts 1991 to 2007 exempted from fees(22.08.2011) by Supreme Court and High Court (Fees) Order 2011 (S.I. No. 406 of 2011), art. 6(c)(iii); revoked (10.04.2012) by Supreme Court and High Court (Fees) Order 2012 (S.I. No. 110 of 2012), art. 11.

E8

Previous affecting provision: proceedings brought by Health Service Executive under collectively cited Child Care Acts 1991 to 2007 exempted from fees (7.07.2008) by Supreme Court and High Court (Fees) Order 2008 (S.I. No. 200 of 2008); revoked (22.08. 2011) by Supreme Court and High Court (Fees) Order 2011 (S.I. No. 406 of 2011), art. 10.

E9

Previous affecting provision: proceedings brought by Health Service Executive under collectively cited Child Care Acts 1991 and 2001 exempted from fees (15.01.2005) by Supreme Court and High Court (Fees) Order 2005 (S.I. No. 70 of 2005), art. 7(1)(c)(iii); revoked (7.07.2008) by Supreme Court and High Court (Fees) Order 2008 (S.I. No. 200 of 2008), art. 10.

E10

Previous affecting provision: proceedings brought by Health Service Executive under collectively cited Child Care Acts 1991 and 2001 exempted from fees (1.01.2004) by Supreme Court and High Court (Fees) Order 2005 (S.I. No. 444 of 2004), art. 7(1)(c)(iii); revoked (15.01.2005) by Supreme Court and High Court (Fees) Order 2005 (S.I. No. 70 of 2005), art. 11.

E11

Previous affecting provision: proceedings brought by health board under Child Care Act 1991 exempted from fees (5.03.2003) by Supreme Court and High Court (Fees) Order 2005 (S.I. No. 89 of 2003), art. 7(1); revoked (12.07.2004) by Supreme Court and High Court (Fees) Order 2004 (S.I. No.444 of 2004), art. 11.

E12

Previous affecting provision: proceedings brought by health board under Child Care Act 1991 exempted from fees (25.10.2001) by Supreme Court and High Court (Fees) (No. 2) Order 2001 (S.I. No. 488 of 2001), art. 7(1); revoked (5.03.2003) by Supreme Court and High Court (Fees) Order 2003 (S.I. No. 89 of 2003), art. 11.