Chief Executive of Tusla, the child and family agency, Gordon Jeyes has said judges need to be more inquisitorial when dealing with child care orders.

Mr Jeyes told RTÉ's Today with Sean O'Rourke that the system needs to be fair with set arbitration and oversight and that acts in the needs of children, building on the areas of support for families.

He said the court system, both in terms of its use of guardian ad litem (Guardian at Law) and the 1991 Childcare Act, needs to be reformed and updated.

Mr Jeyes said judges' wisdom and compassion is required when dealing with important decisions in the life of a family.

He said guardians ad litem need to make sure courts are fully informed about the options for the child and they should not be paid by Tusla.

Mr Jeyes said he cannot and should not be holding guardians ad litem accountable.

"Most people agree the system needs reform yet years go by and the system is not improved. 

"We need to take this by the horns and sort it out. It is about costs, but it's also about the effectiveness of the system, reaching a decision in a timely way, in the interests of the child," he said.