Children First National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2017 provides the national guidance for the protection and welfare of children in Ireland.
A child is defined under the Child Care Act 1991 as anyone under the age of 18 years who is not, or has not been married.
It states what organisations need to do to keep children safe, and what different bodies and the general public should do if they are concerned about a child’s safety and welfare.
Tusla Child and Family Agency has a legal responsibility under the Childcare Act 1991 to promote the welfare and protection of children.
Commenced in full on December 11th, 2017
In early years’ settings you are a Mandated Person if you are:
Mandated persons have two main legal obligations under the Children First Act 2015:
The National Child Safeguarding Programme; Early Learning and Care was set up in 2012 following a number of developments in the Early Years Sector, including the establishment of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs in 2011 and the launch of the updated publication of Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children, also in 2011. The Children First National Guidance was fully revised and published in 2017 to include reference to the Children First Act 2015. The Committee was developed with the primary aim of addressing the implementation of Children First in the Early Years Sector.
The Committee is charged with coordinating the delivery of Child Protection Training nationally in a consistent approach. Thus a Sectoral Training Plan was developed under four headings:
The National Child Safeguarding Programme; Early Learning and Care website www.childsafeguardingelc.ie is full of Early Learning and Care sector specific child safeguarding training and resources, which were developed in conjunction with Tusla. It is a ‘one stop shop’ for all Child Safeguarding resources for Early Learning and Care Services in Ireland as detailed below. You can also follow them on Twitter at@safeguardingelc
The website includes:
Included on the website is the updated Child Safeguarding Statement Template and accompanying Information Sheet for Early Learning and Care services. This resource has been developed in conjunction with the Tusla Child Safeguarding Statement Compliance Unit and will help services to develop a strong, robust Child Safeguarding Statement that is individual and unique to their service. The template and accompanying information sheet attached outlines the exact steps that services are required to follow to develop their Child Safeguarding Statement.
A Child Safeguarding Statement is a written statement that specifies the service being provided and the principles and procedures to be observed in order to ensure, as far as practicable, that a child availing of the service is safe from harm. Upon completion, the Child Safeguarding Statement must be shared with all staff members, displayed in a prominent place in the service and made available to parents and guardians, Tusla and members of the public upon request.
Further information can be found here https://www.tusla.ie/children-first/organisations/what-is-a-child-safeguarding-statement/
Click on the documents below to view the updated Child Safeguarding Statement and Information Sheet:
Child Safeguarding Statement ELC TEMPLATE
Children First: National Guidance outlines that all organisations working with children, including Early Learning and Care Services should create a culture of safety that promotes the welfare of children and young people availing of their services. ELC services are also defined as ‘relevant services’ in the Children First Act 2015 and have specific statutory obligations under the Act to keep children safe whilst they are availing of the service The Children First Act 2015 places specific obligations on organisations which provide services to children and young people. One of these obligations is to report Child Protection and Welfare concerns above a defined threshold to Tusla.
If parents have a concern relating to Child Protection and Welfare they should contact their local Tusla Duty Social Work Department
If parents have a concern relating to standards of care within an Early Learning and Care Service they can contact the Tusla Early Years Inspectorate