Access to Children in Care

Regardless of the type of care the Child and Family Agency (CFA) chooses, it must facilitate reasonable access for parents and relatives.

The law presumes as a starting point, that a child’s welfare is best served by remaining in the care of his/her family where possible. However, where a child is placed in the care of the State, the CFA is required to facilitate reasonable access to the child by his/her parents, any person acting in loco parentis, or any other person who, in the opinion of the CFA, has a bona fide interest in the child. Indeed, such access can include allowing a child to reside temporarily with that person.

Where such a person is unhappy with the access arrangements made by the CFA, he/she can apply to the court and the court may make such an order as it thinks proper regarding access to the child by that person.

The CFA can equally seek the support of the court where necessary, in order to safeguard or promote the child’s welfare, and/or to secure an order authorising the CFA to terminate or refuse access.

Family Law Information Research Group

School of Law, Áras na Laoi, University College Cork,