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.’
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.