The value placed upon the family unit is undeniable. Understanding the importance of the historical significance of the family unit, this article guarantees that the state will, with all its power, protect, defend and uphold the sanctity of the institution. Undeniably society as a whole affirms these principles having ratified the Constitution and empowered the courts to act as a caretaker and a defender when the rights of the family unit are challenged.
Problems arise when government agencies through interpretation of law presuppose to know better than the parents what is best for their own child. Sadly there are cases where the government does need to intervene to protect the child; however, the concern lies when they begin to believe that the government itself has the right to step within the bounds of the family unit and impose its will upon it. It is, actually, quite a chilling thought. Thankfully we live in a country that has a set of checks and balances in place that is empowered, when necessary, to remind itself of the sovereignty of the family.
The Health Act, 1970 authorized the establishment of Heath Boards in Ireland. These "eight health boards were established with statutory responsibility for the delivery of services in their respective areas." (Health Service, 2004, n.p.) Their function is to over see the delivery of heath service programs and benefits throughout the state. One of the source documents the health board uses in carrying out is function is the Child Care Act, 1991. Through legislative means such guidelines have been enacted to guide them in executing their duties. Unfortunately, in some cases, the possibility exists that the very power entrusted to them is abused. They begin to believe that they have the right to interpret and convolute the meanings of documents such as this and, intentionally or not attempt to destroy the fabric of the family unit. Such was the case which occurred when the North West Health Department attempted to usurp the power from the parents in deciding how best to raise their own children. This one act of sanctimonious righteousness threatened to redefine the very Constitution itself by denying the validity of a parent's rights to chose what they feel is best for their own child. That being said, I'll turn to the facts in the case described here and detailed in North Western Health Board-V-W. (H.), (2000) IEHC 199
Child Care Act, 1991
The Child Care Act, 1991 contains in Section three the responsibility of health boards to ensure that every child living within each area geographical boundaries is provided adequate medical care and other benefits. However the statute limits the power of the state to intervene only in those cases was proper care and guidance is not being provided for by the parents. When this happens, the state is to intervene, on behalf