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Children First National Guidance 2011 promotes the protection of children from abuse and neglect.
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.
It sets out specific protocols for HSE social workers, Gardaí and other front line staff in dealing with suspected abuse and neglect.
The scope of the guidance extends beyond the reporting to statutory bodies. It emphasizes the importance of multi-disciplinary, inter-agency working in the management of concerns about children’s safety and welfare. Key to this is the sharing of information between agencies and disciplines in the best interests of children and the need for full co-operation ensure better outcomes.
The National Office is developing a Child Protection and Welfare Practice Handbook, to assist with the standard implementation of Children First 2011 and to support the vital work of social workers and other relevant practitioners in dealing with child protection and welfare cases. This will published here once available.
Remember as part of the HSE team, we are all responsible for the protection and welfare of children, no matter what part of the health service we work within. So if you have a concern about the welfare of a child, please act by sharing your information.
Sometimes people working in the HSE believe that child protection is the responsibility only of social workers. This is false. Nowhere in child care legislation will you see social work named as having responsibility, you will see the HSE (previously Health Board). This is what is known as a Corporate Responsibility. As an employee of the HSE you have a share in that responsibility.
As a staff member of the HSE, for the purpose of dealing with suspected cases of child abuse, you are in either of the two following categories of staff:
There are different responsibilities for both of these categories of staff but both are extremely important as reports of suspected child abuse can come through many different pathways.
The following booklet explains your role and that of your colleagues in understanding and discharging your responsibility;
If in doubt, check it out - HSE Staff Responsibility for the Protection and Welfare of Children
Notification for HSE Staff to Gardaí
It is important for the HSE and An Garda Síochána to chart the progress of an assessment/investigation into a notified suspicion of child abuse or neglect. The designated person within the HSE should send this Standard Notification Form to the local Garda Superintendent. Where more than one child is involved, a separate Standard Notification Form should be sent in respect of each child. A copy must be retained in each child's file. The social worker allocated to the case (or other designated person) must be named on the form. Please see below for a copy of the Children First Notification, Children First Standard Reporting form and other important reference documents.
Children First Notification Form
Children First Standard Report Form
HSE Staff Responsibility for the Protection and Welfare of Children
Children First National Guidance 2011