April 2013

April 2013

The Treoir AGM will be held on the 20th June.  More information to follow.

‘Baby on Board’ – Treoir’s Information Campaign
Earlier this year Treoir held a public campaign to provide information for expectant unmarried parents, living together or apart.  The aim of the campaign was to highlight, through its Top ten Tips, key information such as maintenance, birth registration, maternity leave/benefit, cohabitation, shared parenting and establishing paternity.   Due to the success of this raising awarness campaign it has now been extended.  Watch out for our posters on Dublin Bus!
To promote the campaign, we produced a specially branded ‘Baby on Board’ badge which pregnant women may find useful against the age-old plight of finding it difficult to get a seat on public transport.
Badges can be ordered through our website or call Treoir on 01-6700120.

Order Treoir’s updated 2013 Information Pack and Information Leaflets
Treoir’s Information Pack for Unmarried Parents has been updated and the 2013 version is now available.  This Pack contains invaluable legal information on key issues including custody, access, guardianship, maintenance and much more.  It also contains information on money matters including social welfare entitlements and taxation.
We have also updated and reprinted our very popular series of information leaflets.  These individual leaflets, for parents who are not married to each other, cover issues such as establishing paternity, birth registration, custody/access, guardianship, maintenance, applying for passports, unmarried fathers, cohabiting parents and shared parenting.
All Treoir publications are available to download at  https://www.treoir.ie.  Copies may be ordered at 01-6700120.  Multiple copies may be ordered by service providers.

Changes on Treoir’s Website  – LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Parents
A new target box has been added to Treoir’s website.  This new section contains information specifically for LGBT parents. This section is a work in progress and will be added to and updated in line with current changes.
If any of our Bulletin readers have comments on content or believe there are any omissions we would be grateful to receive your feedback at  mailto:info@treoir.ie.

New publications for Civil Partners and Cohabitants
In December 2012, the Chief Justice, the Hon Mrs Justice Susan Denham launched two new publications on Civil Partnership.  Justice Denham said that these guides to civil partnership and cohabitation will provide valuable information for gay, lesbian and bisexual people as well as for legal practitioners. The first of these publications, developed by GLEN and the ICCL, is in the ICCL ‘Know Your Rights’ series and details all the rights and obligations that apply to civil partnership in Ireland.  The second is a comprehensive annotated guide to the Civil Partnership Act mainly for legal practitioners. These guides were written by Dr. Fergus Ryan of DIT.
Irish Times December 2012

ABORTION  –  Report of the Expert Group on the judgment in A, B and C v Ireland
In November 2012 the Government published the Report of the Expert Group on the judgment in A, B and C v Ireland. This report provides background information on the topic of termination of pregnancy in Ireland, and sets out options for the implementation of the European Court of Human Rights judgment in the A, B and C v Ireland case.
The Report is available on the Department of Health Website and can be downloaded here.

Family Relationships and Family Well-Being: a Study of the Families on Nine Year Olds in Ireland
This study sought to examine family relationships and family well-being among nine year-olds and their families using the wealth of information contained in data from the Growing Up In Ireland Study (GUI). The core concern of the overall GUI study is to track children’s development and identify the factors in their family, community and school contexts that shape their well-being at different stages in their lives.  This report by Tony Fahey, Patricia Keilthy and Ela Polek, was published by UCD and the Family Support Agency.

Among the findings in relation to well-being of children it was found that a mother’s educational level has a very significant effect on outcomes for her children.  The children of less educated mothers fared less well on four indicators, ie cognitive development, social-emotional development and physical health. In general, the educational and material resources of parents mattered more for children’s development than what type of marital or living arrangements they had with each other.  The full report may be downloaded here.

Parents Plus
Parents Plus is an Irish charity committed to developing evidence-based parenting and mental health programmes for individuals and families, and to training professionals and community leaders to deliver the programmes in their communities.  Some 20 different agencies throughout the State have been trained to deliver its new “Parenting When Separated” programme, designed to be a practical, positive course for parents who are preparing for, going through, or who have been through separation or divorce.

For more details of this six-week course, which is being rolled out nationally, see parentsplus.ie/separation.

Children in Care
Between 2007 and 2012, the number of children in care increased by almost 17%. A number of factors contributed to this increase, including the general rise in population, the growing awareness of the impact of long term neglect, and the impact of the economic downturn on vulnerable parents. However, the rate of Irish children in State care remains low at 5.4 per 1,000.

Trend in Number of Children in Care 2007-2012

2007             2008          2009            2010           2011

5,307            5,357          5,674           5,965           6,160


Children in Care by Type of Placement, April 2012

Care Setting                                                                  No. of Children

Foster Care                                                                          3,880
Foster Care with relatives                                                      1,781
Residential Care                                                                      415
Other Residential Care Placements                                         143
TOTAL                                                                                  6,219

Foster Care
The vast majority (91%) of children in alternative care in Ireland are in foster care.  When a child cannot live with his or her parents, either on a short or long-term basis, the HSE will, in the first instance, seek a suitable relative or person known to the child to provide relative care. Relative carers go through assessment and approval in a similar way to general foster carers. In April 2012, 31% of children in foster care were placed with relatives. A small number of children in care are placed abroad with relatives living outside the country.

National Adoption Contact Preference Register (NACPR)
Some 7,068 people who were adopted as children have joined this register while 3,137 natural relatives – most of them birth parents – have also signed up.  More than 1,000 adopted people and their birth relatives have been reunited. The register was set up in 2005 with the aim to match adopted people with their natural parents.  Susan Lohan, co-founder of Adoption Rights Alliance, said these figures were disappointing.  She said there were around 50,000 adopted people in Ireland, and, taking into account birth parents, grandparents and siblings, she gave a “conservative” estimate of 200,000 people who could be using the service.  “We want the same system as in the UK where, on reaching 18, you get access to your file. In the case of Ireland, that could mean your birth certificate and your original name. Some adopted people could even get their early medical and care records” she added.

According to the Adoption Rights Alliance adoption and tracing legislation reforms which have been cited by successive government as a “priority” are again being delayed and the Children’s Minister Frances Fitzgerald has said that such legislation will now come before the Dail some time this year.  The legislation currently being proposed essentially gives a statutory footing to the National Contact Preference Register and the current tracing guidelines.

An Adoption Authority spokesman said it receives around 30 applications to join the register each week and “strongly encouraged” any adopted person or birth relative who wanted to get information or make contact to do so.

Childcare / INTREO
A new Budget initiative at a cost of €14 million a year has been announced which will provide for upwards of 6,000 additional after school places targeted at children in primary school.  The places will be targeted at low-income families and is part of the Government’s overall strategy to support parents in low income families to take up employment.  The subsidised afterschool childcare places will be offered to people who engage with the Department of Social Protection’s INTREO service which is designed to help unemployed people get back to work, training or education. INTREO provides a one-stop-shop where Jobseekers can access the employment services (formerly provided by FAS) and the Community Welfare Services (formerly provided HSE) and the income support services provided by the Department itself.

The INTREO service is currently available at four pilot one-stop-shops in Sligo, King’s Inns Parnell Street, Arklow and Tallaght. Other offices in Ballymun, Kilkenny, Buncrana, Coolock, Finglas and Dundalk will go live before the end of the year. INTREO will then be rolled out to all the Department’s offices nationwide by the end of 2014.  This new service should dramatically speed up the processing of claims.

It is also intended that, in co-operation with the Department of Education and Skills, the scope to include primary schools interested in facilitating on-site after school provision, will be pursued. Download the Department of Social Protection’s explanatory leaflet on the Subsidised After-school Child Care Scheme.

A Review of Department of Social Protection Employment Support Schemes
A recent Government review of whether welfare payments are effective at getting people back into work has found some schemes run the risk of making people dependent on social assistance and recommends making changes to eligibility conditions.  The report recommends changes to the Community Employment scheme, which provides income support to about 23,000 people in mostly disadvantaged areas.  It recommends that time limits be placed on participation and there be a greater focus on job-searching for participants well in advance of their exit. The review also shows that a majority of the 25,000 people in receipt of the back-to-education allowance end up returning to the Live Register after they have completed their courses.  It also states that there is a risk that the allowance may come to be seen as an “alternative funding stream” for traditional access to further and higher education courses among young people.  Internship programmes such as JobBridge are shown to be very effective with more than 50 per cent of participants in the scheme finding employment.  Read review here.

Worklink  –  Employment Support Network
Worklink is an employment support network formed as a response to the unemployment crisis in Ireland.  Working mainly through a network of professional volunteers, its objective is to assist unemployed jobseekers successfully transition into full employment.

The Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, T.D. recently (Monday, 7th January 2013) welcomed the expansion of Worklink.  She urged employers to avail of the Department’s employment services: “These are services that can make highly skilled candidates on the live register available to employers at no extra cost and in many cases with a financial subsidy. I would like to acknowledge Worklink’s assistance in communicating these benefits to employers and assisting them in accessing the supports that are available”.  For more information on this scheme visit www.worklink.ie

A Portrait of Ireland’s Nonprofit Section
The research for this report involved consultation with five hundred and six organisations and shows that two thirds (63.5%) of Irish community, voluntary and charitable organisations had experienced an increase in demand for their services over the past three years.  The report reveals that almost 60% of charities have seen a reduction in their income over the same period, while a third (34%) reported both a drop in income and an increase in service users.

This report is the first in a series that The Wheel will publish over the coming months based on the research findings. The purpose of the series is to ensure that the information gathered in the research is made available and interpretable by policy makers, academics, funders, nonprofit organisations and all interested stakeholders, including the public and the media.
The report, A Portrait of Ireland’s Nonprofit Sector, can be downloaded here (PDF, 876KB). 

Guide to maternity rights in the workplace
The Equality Authority has updated its existing guide to Maternity Leave in a Plain English format. An audio version of this booklet is also available.  The guide has been translated into 14 languages i.e. Arabic, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, French, Irish, Latvian, Lingala, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian and Spanish, which are available to download at www.equality.ie

Download the English version here.

Key Contact – Supported Accommodation Directory 2012
This directory provides information on supported accommodation services available to women experiencing crisis pregnancy.  Supported accommodation services can be described as providing ‘semi-independent accommodation, with a support programme in place which is accessed either directly on-site or through external agencies.  The publication is one in a series of resources produced by the HSE Crisis Pregnancy Programme. Download a copy here.

Picking Up the Pieces – The Rights and Needs of Children and Families Affected by Imprisonment
The best interests of the child should be a key consideration when sending a parent to prison, a new report by the Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) has found.  Picking Up the Pieces – The Rights and Needs of Children and Families Affected by Imprisonment also recommends consideration be given to child impact statements, which courts would take into account when considering placing parents in custody.  The report includes recommendations for the Government, the Courts Service, the Prison Service, An Garda Síochána and the media on safeguarding children and families of prisoners.  It recommends that gardaí adhere to guidelines when arresting an individual to minimise the impact on family members. It also urges that the denial of family visits as a disciplinary sanction be prohibited and says child-friendly visits should be facilitated.  About 4,300 children in the State are separated from a jailed father.

Download report here – http://www.iprt.ie/contents/2450