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EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki


1. Youth Policy Governance

1.2 National youth law

On this page
  1. Existence of a National Youth Law
  2. Scope and contents
  3. Revisions/updates

Existence of a National Youth Law

There is no specific national youth law in Ireland.

The primary legislation regulating child care policy in Ireland is the Child Care Act 1991. The Child Care Act was introduced in 1991 and the main part of the Act was implemented in 1995.

Ireland signed up to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in 1992. The UNCRC is an international agreement that lists the rights of all children and young people under the age of 18. 


Scope and contents

The Child Care Act (1991) covers the following areas:

  • Promotion of the welfare of children, including section 3 which governs the functions of The Child and Family Agency (Tusla);
  • Protection of children in emergencies, including section 12 which governs the powers of the police (An Garda Síochána) to take a child to safety;
  • Care proceedings, including the different types of care orders which can be made by a court;
  • Children in need of special care or protection;
  • Private foster care;
  • Jurisdiction and procedure, including provisions for the appointment of a guardian ad litem for a child;
  • Children in the care of the Child and Family Agency;
  • Supervision of preschool services and;
  • Children’s residential centres. 





The Child Care Act (1991)

A written consultation process and an Open Policy Debate on the review of the Child Care Act 1991 was undertaken by the by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY – then known as the Department of Children and Youth Affairs) during December 2017 - February 2018. A background note on the Open Policy Debate and a report on the findings of the Open Policy Debate was published by the DCEDIY.


The Child Care Act (1991) is currently under review by DCEDIY. This is discussed further in Chapter 1.9 Current debates and reforms.