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Child distraction areas rolled out in family court offices

06 Jan 2020 / courts Print

Child distraction areas rolled out in court offices

Child distraction areas have been set up in family courts to assist parents in dealing with their business.

This is part of an initiative which began at Dolphin House in Dublin, to enhance both communication and service efficiency for court users.

Courts Service staff member Ann Marie Doyle explains: “While  working  on  the  public  counter,  we  observed  that  a  lot  of  parents  have  no  option  but  to  bring  their  children  when making applications or attending the  family  law  office,  court,  Legal  Aid  Board or mediation  office.’

Sensory boards

The staff  introduced designated areas using wall decorators and sensory boards  where  children  could  safely play and in turn allow parents to focus on matters at hand.

Part of the ‘Taking the First Steps’ initiative which began a year ago at the  District  Family  Office  in  Dolphin  House, staff now endeavour to resolve user issues using open lines of communication and updated practices.

The approach has also been adopted by colleagues in Carlow courthouse since January 2019 and a roll-out has commenced to a further five courthouses around the country.


Child distraction areas have received €10,000 in funding from the inaugural Public Service   Innovation  Award and delivery is underway in 25 court locations.

There were over 135 applications to the fund, which was financially  oversubscribed fourteenfold.

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