Hard decisions - Child protection

In the past, social services faced criticism for not moving fast enough to protect children from abuse or neglect, but figures for the babies taken from their family each year raise the question of whether the other extreme is now the case.

According to the Children’s Minister, 136 infants under 12 months are taken into care annually “when alternative means of protection have been exhausted”. That qualifying clause only makes sense when we know what the alternative means of protection are. The suspicion is that they are few in options and thin on resources.

If, for example, a baby is born to a homeless addict, the chances of her getting a residential rehab programme where she can keep her child with her are slim.

We know from too many tragic cases that young people leaving care are hugely vulnerable and a system designed to protect them from immediate danger often leaves them ill-equipped to deal with adult life. Separation from parents may be needed to save a child, but investment in a range of alternatives that are not easily exhaustible must not be neglected.


About 70% of our planet is covered in water, in one form or another and it is vital to our survival.Appliance of science: Where does water come from?

Touched by the last rays of the sun, the grey mud of the estuary is dimpled with silver pools. Above them, rooks fly in their thousands, rooks uncountable, on different levels of the air.Interplay of rooks above Cillmanister a lovely mystery

A NEW survey confirms the presence of at least six rare spiders in Killarney National Park.Six rare spiders found in Killarney National Park

IT WAS written about an old ruin in Co Wexford but it may as well have been written for any other place.Islands of Ireland: Cows come home to Inishbarra

More From The Irish Examiner