In this week’s essay - the second in our recent series on the Children First Act 2015 - we’re going to look at the 3 triggers that made the Children First Act go live; what went ‘live’; and when.
The legislation was introduced - like the emergence of the moon - on a phased basis.
There are 3 things which triggered the long-awaited Children First Act 2015.
The triggers were 3 ‘statutory instruments’.
One was triggered in 2015, another in 2016, and the final one in 2017.
We’ll look in this essay at those 3 triggers, what they triggered, and when.
We’re going kick off by looking at Part 1 of the Act.
So, without any further ado, let’s get started!
STRUCTURE OF THE CHILDREN FIRST ACT 2015
The Children First Act 2015 has five main blocks (or ‘parts’).
I previously spent some time turning that into a one-page overview of the Act (below):
There are 28 sections in the Act.
And there are three bits at the end of the Act called ‘schedules’.
SECTION 1: SHORT TITLE AND COMMENCEMENT
We’re dealing with the Children First Act 2015. As usual, the legislators took a piece-meal approach taken to its commencement.
A little bit went live here; a little bit goes live there.
Of course, they probably had good reasons for why the whole legislation couldn’t go live at the same time (due to what they perceived as potential implementation issues).
The Oireachtas enacted the law in 2015.
(The Children First Act 2015 being the giveaway in the title).
But it only went live (in all its parts) on 11 December 2017.
So how did each piece go live? Well, there were 3 main triggers to the Act going ‘live’.
THE FIRST TRIGGER: 11 DECEMBER 2015
Children First Act 2015 (Commencement) Order 2015 (S.I. No. 555 of 2015)
‘S.I. No. 555 of 2015’ means it was the 555th time in 2015 that the government issued a ‘statutory instrument (SI)’ to do something to do with one of their Acts.
Well, in 2015, the Minister published a ‘statutory instrument’. This is also known as a piece of ‘secondary legislation’.
It brought to life (‘shall come into operation’) sections 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 of the Children First Act 2015, as well as section 28:
Sections 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 are the first few sections this series will be looking like, and are what I call the ‘housekeeping’ side of the Act. (Part 1 comprises of Sections 1 to 7).
They deal with:
- Section 1: Short Title and Commencement
- Section 2: Definitions
- Section 3: Regulations
- Section 4: Service of Notices
- Section 5: Expenses
and then we also have going live back in 2015
- Section 28: the Abolition of the Defence of Reasonable Chastisement
At this point these sections (1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 28) went live.
THE SECOND TRIGGER: 1ST MAY 2016
Children First Act 2016 (Commencement) Order 2016 (S.I. No. 211 of 2016)
James Reilly was still the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs on 28th April 2016, when he issued the second statutory instrument.
He appointed 1st May 2016 as the day on which sections 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 and 26 went live, as follows:
- Section 18: Agency is specified body for purposes of National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012
and, skipping Section 19 at that stage, he made live:
- Section 20: Children First Inter-Departmental Implementation Group
- Section 21: Membership of Implementation Group
- Section 22: Functions of Implementation Group
- Section 23: Directions of Minister
- Section 24: Conditions and cessation of membership
- Section 25: Meetings and procedures
- Section 26: Reports
THE THIRD TRIGGER: 11TH DECEMBER 2017
Children First Act 2015 (Commencement) Order 2017 (S.I. No. 470 of 2017)
This final statutory instrument brought the remaining outstanding provisions into full operation. It came into effect on 11th December 2017.
The new Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone did this:
- Section 6: Guidelines
- Section 7: Best Interests of child
- Section 8: Definitions for purposes of Part 2
- Section 9: Application of Part
- Section 10: Child Safeguarding
- Section 11: Risk assessment and child safeguarding statements etc
- Section 12: Non-compliance with request to furnish child safeguarding statement
- Section 13: Register of non-compliance
- Section 14: Mandated persons
- Section 15: Authorised persons
- Section 16: Information obtained by Agency or other persons pursuant to Act
- Section 17: Agency may request mandated persons to assist with assessments
and, last but not least:
- Section 19: Views of child – amendment of Child and Family Agency Act 2013
- Section 27: Sectoral implementation plans
There are 3 things which triggered the long-awaited Children First Act 2015. The triggers were 3 ‘statutory instruments’. One was triggered in 2015, another in 2016, and the final one in 2017. The legislation was introduced in a phased basis.
This essay is for general information and guidance purposes only and, just to be clear, does not constitute legal or other professional advice.
You should always seek your own specific legal advice, from a firm of solicitors, on the application of the law in a situation.
Whilst we used reasonable endeavours to ensure the accuracy of this content, we do not accept any liability for any omissions or errors; or for any action taken in reliance of the information in this essay.
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