Children First promotes the protection of children from abuse and neglect, by setting out what individuals and organisations need to do to keep children safe, and how to deal with concerns about a child’s safety or welfare.
HSE Policy states that all staff irrespective of role, grade or position must promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm. Juliette notes: “Children First is the policy that we are guided by and we also have the HSE Child Protection and Welfare Policy as well. It guides me as a public health nurse. I am also a mandated person and a designated officer under that Child Care act. That basically means I have a legal responsibility to refer any child protection or welfare concern to Tusla.”
Services working with children and classed as relevant services under the Children First Act 2015 must have a risk assessment completed and have a Child Safeguarding Statement in place.
The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of communities and organisations working together. With the resumption of many services, clubs and groups, organisations working with children and young people are being reminded of their responsibilities under the Children First Act 2015.
“It’s very important that all organisations work together, be it the public health nurse, the guard, the teacher, the social worker and Tusla and every member of the community to safeguard the children in our community. If I have a child protection and welfare concern, I would discuss this with the family for support reasons we would then refer into Tusla via their portal,” says Juliette.