Current legislation, guidelines, policies and procedures within Northern Ireland affecting the safeguarding of children and young people.
Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995
This is the principal statute governing the care, upbringing and protection of children in Northern Ireland. It affects all those who work and care for children, whether parents, paid carers or volunteers. The Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 changed the philosophy and practice of the law in relation to children as it reformed, and brought together, most of the "public" and "private" law relating to children in a single coherent statutory framework along the lines of the Children Act 1989 in England and Wales. The order is regarded as the most important source of child law and had a huge impact upon the public, professionals and most of all children. When it became law in November 1996 it was seen as a radical piece of legislation that marked a major shift in the way children were dealt with by courts and social services.
Parental responsibility was central to the Children Order and it reasserted the significance of children’s welfare as the paramount consideration in disputes concerning their upbringing. It gave courts wide-ranging and flexible powers to regulate the exercise of parental responsibility and introduced procedural and jurisdictional changes. It established a wholly new basis for compulsory care or supervision and introduced new procedures for protecting children in emergencies and made major changes to the legal regulation for children looked after away from home.
UN Convention on the Right of the Child
This is a human rights treaty which sets out the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children and their needs and rights. The Convention defines a child as any human being under the age of eighteen, unless the age of majority is attained earlier under a state's own domestic legislation. Nations that ratify this...
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