The Child Care Act provides that in any court proceedings concerning a child the Court must regard the welfare of the child as the principle guide in it’s decision making.
Depending on the age of the child, the Court will also have to have regard to the wishes of the child and the parents but the guiding principle is the welfare of the child.
The Child Care Act 1991 also sets out the role of the HSE in child care issues and under section 3 of Part III of the Act which places certain duties and obligations on the HSE in the whole area of child care. The HSE must also have regard to the wishes of the parents in carrying out it’s statutory duties.
High Court decisions have held that it is generally in the best interests of the child to be brought up in his own family so for this reason the intervention of the HSE to override the wishes of the parents has been limited to exceptional cases.
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