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National Children First Awareness Week

By: Clare Daly | Posted on: 03 Nov 2021

This week is National Children First Awareness Week, and it runs from the 1st to 7th November 2021.

The Minister for Children has launched this annual new initiative to raise awareness of Children First and remind the wider society, including organisations working with children and young people, of our collective responsibility to keep them safe in our communities.

The term ‘Children First’ refers to Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2017 and the Children First Act 2015. In January 2019, an addendum was introduced to cover Online Safety (see also our recent article relating to Cyber Bullying).

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.

The Act requires organisations working with children and young people to ensure that risk assessment processes and Child Safeguarding Statements are in place and active. It is everyone’s responsibility to protect children and young people, and to do our best to keep them safe.

The Act also places a legal obligation on certain people, including doctors, nurses, teachers, Gardai, foster parents and allied health professionals to report child protection concerns at or above a defined threshold to the Child and Family Agency. These mandated persons must also assist Tusla, on request, in its assessment of child protection concerns about children who have been the subject of a mandated report.   

Anyone who has concerns about a child or young person should report these concerns to Tusla, to the local social work duty service in the area where the child lives.  The relevant numbers are set out on the Tusla website: Contact a Social Worker Tusla - Child and Family Agency.  

In cases of emergency, where a child or young person appears to be at immediate and serious risk, contact An Garda Siochana. As part of the new campaign a new website was launched  setting out the key information about Children First: gov.ie/childrenfirst .

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