The Child Care Law Reporting Project (CCLRP) analyses child protection cases in Ireland with a view to informing the public and improving the child care system inside the country.

The project, which was launched in 2012, focuses on the reporting of childcare cases in Ireland and is part of a research programme established by Ireland’s then Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald in the same year. The current minister is Katherine Zappone.

The CCLRP’s website has a page which offers reports on cases produced by the project’s own journalists, as well as as a reports section which offers analysis, stats and data from the cases they examine. The latest report, published in March and written by Dr Carol Coulter, offers a national overview of childcare cases in Ireland.

Dr Coulter, who reports on the cases for the project told the Irish Times in 2012, “We must… distinguish between privacy and secrecy. We can protect people’s privacy without maintaining secrecy. This project will be doing that.”

The Board of Directors includes Noeline Blackwell, (Chair) CEO, Dublin Rape Crisis Centre; Judge Catherine McGuinness, former Supreme Court judge and President of the Law Reform Commission; Dr Geoffrey Shannon, the Irish Government’s Special Rapporteur on Child Protection; Dr Carol Coulter, Executive Director of the Project; and Maria Corbett, former Deputy Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance.

The project is an excellent one.

We’d like to invite the President of the Family Division and interested lawyers and reporters to put a similar project together for England and Wales, but to amp it up with in-depth stats, service-user led input and a dedicated minister to put the findings to parliament so that legislation can be amended to make the courts fit for purpose.