The State's child protection watchdog has said a complete overhaul of child protection laws is required.

The Special Rapporteur on Child Protection, Dr Geoffrey Shannon, has made more than 100 recommendations within his latest report, 56 of which focus on reform of the 1991 Child Care Act.

The recommendations include clarifying the threshold for taking children into care by providing flexibility so that the courts can grant less severe orders than the one originally sought on a given day.

For example, they could grant a supervision order rather than an interim care order although the original application was for an interim care order.

It also recommends that it should be mandatory that the courts examine and ensure that the needs of all children who become homeless are being met.

In the aftermath of two children from the Roma community being taken into care by gardaí last year using emergency powers, it recommends those powers be examined and clear guidelines be produced and made publicly available.

However, the report stresses the need for greater specialised supports for high-risk families to ensure taking children into care is a last resort.

The report also addresses the issue of childhood obesity. It proposes further restrictions on the advertising of fatty foods and an outright ban on the advertising of baby formula and substitute products and the promotion of breastfeeding.

The introduction of legislation to prevent the forced marriage of children is also proposed.

There are also some familiar recommendations within the report, such as a review of the direct provision system and the need to update cyber crime laws.