Children First is a national policy document which promotes the safety and well-being of all children. Children First is intended to assist people in identifying and reporting child protection and welfare concerns and outlines how to deal effectively with concerns. It highlights the role and responsibilities of everyone in protecting children and promoting their welfare.
Under Children First all organisations who are involved with children have an obligation to provide them with the highest possible standard of care in order to promote their well-being and safeguard them from abuse.
All HSE Staff
The policy of the HSE is that ALL HSE STAFF irrespective of grade or position have a responsibility under Children First to protect children and to promote their welfare.
Download and read about the responsibilities of ALL HSE staff (PDF, 612 KB, 2 pages) under Children First.
HSE Line Managers
If you are a line manager or have managerial responsibilities then you play a crucial role in safeguarding children and Children First compliance in the HSE.
The welfare and protection of children is the responsibility of all staff however line managers and/or staff with managerial responsibilities must be aware of and understand their roles and responsibilities in terms of child safeguarding legislation and policy.
Watch this short video for HSE Line Managers on their Child Safeguarding Roles and Responsibilities in accordance with Children First and the HSE Child Protection and Welfare Policy:
It is also recommended that you watch the HSE Line Managers Children First Briefing video which covers additional information on key child safeguarding legislation and policy. This video includes sections on: Reporting Child Protection and Welfare Concerns, Children First National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2017, the Children First Act 2015 and Sharing Information and Record Keeping in relation to Child Protection and Welfare Concerns:
Additionally, a Children First Resource Pack for HSE Line Managers and staff with managerial responsibilities has been developed to help provide knowledge, information and key resources available to support this role from a Children First perspective:
(PDF, 3 MB, 14 pages)
All staff have responsibilities to protect children and promote their welfare. Some HSE staff have additional responsibilities. For example certain grades of HSE staff are called Designated Officers.
You can check if you are a Designated Officer and your responsibilities (PDF, 1,056 KB, 2 pages) under Children First.
Check Schedule 2 of the Children First Act 2015 to find out if you are a Mandated Person.
Mandated persons have two main legal obligations under the Children First Act 2015:
- To report harm of children, above a defined threshold, to Tusla - Child and Family Agency
- To assist Tusla, if requested, in assessing a concern which has been the subject of a mandated report
The section for Mandated Persons has more information.
How to report a child protection or welfare concern
All HSE personnel have a duty to report suspected child abuse, neglect or welfare concerns.
The following section outlines the Reporting Procedure for HSE staff who have a Child Protection or Welfare concern.