Children First

Children First is Ireland's national guidance for the protection and welfare of children.

The aim of Children First is to promote the safety and well-being of children. Parents and guardians have the main responsibility for the care and protection of children. Some parents, for a range of reasons, are not able to provide proper care for their children. These families need more intensive assessment, support and direct interventions to ensure the safety and well-being of their children. People working with children and the wider public know that early action by them is very often the best way to protect children and to enable a family to stay together. Professionals also have an important part to play and their actions need to reflect the principles and objectives of the Child Care Act 1991 and of this national guidance.

Read Children First 2011, view the Notification of Errata to Children First
Read The Child Protection and Welfare Practice Handbook
Read Children First Key Messages
Read Children First FAQs
Read Gordon Jeyes letter to staff, Allied Professionals and Partner Agencies re Children First
Read Our Duty to Care
Read HSE Children First 2011 Press release
Download Children First Standard Report Form , pdf format or as a word document

Read the Guidance Notes to help you fill in the Standard Report Form.

To save copies of forms that have been filled out electronically,select File > Save As and give the file an unique identifier.  If you are storing completed forms in hardcopy or electronically please familiarise yourself with relevant Data Protection legislation on the storage of personal information.
Completed Standard Report Forms can be sent to our social workers

Information on how to report a concern, definintions of abuse.

Advice, guidance and support
The HSE can provide advice, guidance and supports to organisations and individuals working with children.

If you have queries about Children First email

If you have concerns about a child contact the social work office in the area where the child lives.

The HSE National Counselling Service for Adult Survivors of Childhood Abuse can be contacted on 1800 235 234


Child Protection and Welfare Practice Handbook

The Child Protection and Welfare Practice Handbook is designed to be a companion volume and to complement Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children (2011), which is the full reference text for practitioners. It will also support policies, procedures and legislation. The Practice Handbook is a guide to basic and consistent practice, but it cannot and does not cover everything. It will give clear guidance, but additional support and advice should be sought through peers and your line manager.

Read The Child Protection and Welfare Practice Handbook

Read Gordon Jeyes Letter re Practice Handbook.pdf (size 55.8 KB)