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The Childcare Unit at Chancery Street, Dublin.

We have established a Childcare Unit with a view to providing a specialised service for parents in Dublin whose children are the subject of an application by the Child and Family Agency to be taken into care or be supervised in their own homes. This service was formerly provided as part of the Dolphin House Service, but as of 2016 has relocated to Chancery Street Courthouse where the District Court now sits to hear these applications.

Applications for legal aid may be made directly to the Childcare Unit for the purpose of child care proceedings. The Board has a solicitor presence in Chancery Street.

The following arrangements apply in relation to the provision of child care services where the application is made directly to the Childcare Unit:

  1. Applications for legal aid for child care matters can be made at Chancery Street  in addition to law centres. Law centres must accept applications in the normal manner and cannot refer a person to Chancery Street to make their application.
  2. If a respondent applies for legal services at Chancery Street they are financially assessed and if financially eligible and contribution is paid, can be granted a legal aid certificate immediately.

Where a conflict of interest precludes the Childcare Unit solicitor from taking the case, clerical/paralegal staff in the Childcare Unit will carry out the financial assessment, collect the contribution, issue a legal aid certificate, and make the referral to law centres on a strict rota basis taking the views of the client into account.  When making referrals, the Childcare Unit will forward the original application form accompanied by the associated material. Where a solicitors panel for child care cases is in operation (either as a pilot or otherwise) there may be the option of referring to that panel instead of a law centre, where appropriate.

Law centres should not refer child care cases to the Childcare Unit