'Best Interest of the Child' - Legislation


6652 / 10000 signatures


As the eviction ban has been lifted, we believe that there will be an increase in child homelessness. To mitigate the impact that this will have on children, we want homeless legislation to be reformed so that local authorities and public servants delivering services are obligated to put the rights and best interest of the child first in any decisions around children.

As homeless figures continue to rise we want to ensure children experiencing homelessness are protected. We are calling on the Government to reform homeless legislation so that local authorities and public servants delivering services must put the rights and best interest of the child first in any decisions around children.

Why is this important?

We believe that children are particularly vulnerable after they have lost their home and we believe that ‘The Best Interest of the Child’ should always inform decisions around where a family should be housed. A Housing Needs Assessment should be undertaken for every child and should include factors such as access to their school, waiting lists for medical or other therapeutic supports and supporting relationships with the wider family network and non-custodial parents, where applicable. We believe that children in emergency accommodation should be supported throughout this time and that a every child, who needs it, should have timely access to a child support worker.

Previously, the Housing (Homeless Families) Act 2017 received cross-party support. The Bill was not enacted before a change of Government, and we would like to re-introduce this Bill to protect children. This Bill calls on Local Authorities to:

(i) recognise the persons concerned as a family unit,
(ii) regard the best interests of the child as a paramount consideration,
and
(iii) have particular regard to the need by practical means to protect and assist families, including by providing them with safe accommodation, in order to support and encourage—
(I) the effective functioning of families, and
(II) the development, welfare, and protection of children within a family home.

How will we deliver this petition?

We will present this petition to the Taoiseach, the Tanaiste, the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage and the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth of Ireland




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