The National Child Safeguarding Committee; 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:
Essential reading for Childcare Practitioners
| ◊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. It includes a risk assessment, measures to manage any risks and a number of mandatory safeguarding policies and procedures.
New Child Safeguarding Statement
For further information: https://www.tusla.ie/about/child-safety-statement/
| ◊E-Learning: Introduction to Children First and Children First Child Protection Revision Webinar
| ◊Garda Vetting
Under the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012-2016, it is compulsory for employers to obtain vetting disclosures in relation to
anyone who is carrying out relevant work with children or vulnerable adults.
ELC as relevant work: Any work or activity which is carried out by a person, a necessary and regular part of which consists mainly of the person having access to, or contact with, children in – (a) an establishment which provides preschool services within the meaning of Part VII of the Child Care Act 1991
Statutory obligations on employers in relation to Garda vetting requirements for persons working with children and vulnerable adults are set out in National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012-2016
The Acts create offences and penalties for persons who fail to comply with its provisions.
The National Vetting Bureau of An Garda Síochána issues vetting disclosures to organisations employing people who work in a full-time, part-time, voluntary or student placement basis with children and/or vulnerable adults.
The National Vetting Bureau does not decide on the suitability of any person to work with children and vulnerable adults. Rather, in response to a written request for vetting, the National Vetting Bureau releases criminal history and other specified information on the person to be vetted to the prospective recruiting organisation.
Early Learning and Care services should have their own criteria in place to decide on the suitability of persons to work in their service.
| ◊Mandated Persons
WHO ARE MANDATED PERSONS?
Mandated Persons are people who have contact with children and families and who, because of their qualifications, training and/or employment role, are in a key position to help protect children from harm.
Many groups of professionals who will be Mandated Persons under the Act.
If you work in an early years setting you are a Mandated Person if you are:
If you run or own pre-school service that is required to register with the Early Years Inspectorate, then you are a Mandated Person.
For more information, see Chapter 3 of Children First National Guidance 2017 and the A Guide to reporting Child Protection and Welfare Concerns
| ◊Designated Liaison Person
In line with the new Child Protection Legislation, every organisation providing services for children or in direct contact with children should have a Designated Liaison Person (DLP) to act as a liaison with outside agencies and as a resource person to any staff member or volunteer who has child protection concerns. The DLP ensures the standard reporting procedure is followed and that suspected cases of child neglect or abuse are referred promptly to the Child and Family Agency Duty Social Worker or in an emergency, where a child is in immediate danger and where the Social Worker cannot be contacted, to An Garda Síochana. The DLP should be knowledgeable about child protection and undertake any training necessary to keep themselves updated on new developments.
In order to access the new DLP Training, which should be available later this year, you must have completed the Child Protection and Welfare Training. Please contact Sheena on 057 9135878 to put your name on a waiting list for the training.
| ◊Child Protection and the Pre-School Regulations
Childcare Providers are obliged under Regulation 9 of the Child Care (Pre-School Services) Regulations 2006 to have a Child Protection Policy based on Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children in operation. Clear written guidelines on identifying and reporting child abuse should be developed by the childcare service.
|◊Child Protection Training for Early Years Settings
Training for Early Learning and Care settings and School Age Childcare settings has temporarily suspended due to current governement restrictions.
Please see the section above E-Learning: Introduction to Children First and Children First Child Protection Revision Webinar
| ◊Recording Child Protection and Welfare Concerns
Early Learning and Care (ELC) and School Aged Childcare (SAC) services must keep written records of all child protection and welfare concerns, including concerns that may not reach the threshold for reporting to Tusla. Services must have a system in place where all workers are aware of how to record all child safeguarding concerns and this should form part of the services’ Child Safeguarding Procedures. Concerns must be recorded in order to identify any potential patterns that may cause concern in relation to safeguarding children. In order to ensure that all relevant information is recorded and appropriate steps are taken, concerns should be recorded on a standardised form that all workers are familiar with.
ELC and SAC services must have a procedure in place which outlines what concerns are recorded, how these concerns are recorded, how they are stored and who has access to them. In order to support ELC and SAC services to do this, the National Child Safeguarding Programme have developed a sample ‘Recording Child Protection and Welfare Concerns Form’.
This form is contained in the National Child Safeguarding Programme’s new publication ‘Child Safeguarding Resource Document – Child Safeguarding Statement, Policy and Procedures; Guidance for Early Learning and Care and School Aged Childcare Services in Ireland’. This resource is available on www.childsafeguardingelc.ie/resources-publications/
The ‘Recording Child Protect and Welfare Concerns Form’ outlines:
Points to note when using this form: