The Refugee Act, as amended, incorporated the 1951 Geneva Convention and the 1967 Protocol into Irish Law and with it our international obligations" (Separated Children Living in Ireland, 2009, p7).
Article 42(5) of the Irish Constitution states: "State as guardian of the common good, by appropriate means shall endeavour to supply the place of the parents, but always with due regard for the natural and imprescriptible rights of the child" (Separated Children Living in Ireland, 2009, p14).
"Of the 9 accommodation centres, 7 are not registered or inspected residential centres, contrary to the requirement that all children's residential centres be inspected by the Social Services Inspectorate under the Child Care Act, 1991" (Separated Children Living in Ireland, 2009, p22).
Inconsistency exists in how separated children are treated and cared for in Ireland, with different sections of the Child Care Act, 1991 being used by different professionals, depending on where they are working around the country. In some instances, separated children are treated as homeless children under section 5 of the Act and are placed in hostel accommodation. They are therefore not received into the care of the Health Service Executive (HSE) and do not benefit from the potential to be allocated a social worker, or care planning. In Dublin, by comparison, separated children are dealt with under section 4 of the Act and are taken into the care of the HSE.
The government policy for all children in England is "every child must be healthy, safe, enjoy and achieve, and make positive contribution" (McAuley, Professor Colette; Children in Care in the Republic of Ireland: Some Statistics and Comparisons).
The key objectives are to improve outcomes in these areas for all children and narrow the gap between outcomes for LAC, and children in the general population.
However, there is "considerable gap in the attainment levels and qualifications achieved by children in care and their peers in the general population, leaving care literature found that the level of qualifications achieved whilst in care was a strong predictor of their outcomes in adult life.
"Only 6% care leavers in England gain 5 or more GCSEs grades A-C compared with 53% of all children and over half leave school with no formal qualifications of any kind, less than 1% care leavers go on to higher education/university compared with 43% of young people who live with birth parents" (McAuley, Professor Colette; Children in Care: Educational Outcomes).
The administration of child welfare was satisfactory although the number of children found to have mental health disorders was rather high. In the "first national prevalence survey of over 10 000 children aged 5-15 years in Great Britain, 10% of children had a mental health disorder. Of this, 5% had clinically significant conduct disorders, 4% had emotional disorders and 1%