Child Protection Now a Statutory Responsibility for Those Working With Children
Barnardos is delighted to see full implementation of the final strand of the Children First Act 2015 today. The final provisions place a legal requirement on professionals who work with or have ongoing contact with children to report to Tusla any concerns they may have regarding a child’s welfare and protection.
There is also now an obligation on all services working with children to devise a Child Safeguarding Statement outlining measures being taken by the service to mitigate any potential risk to a child in their service.
Barnardos Head of Advocacy, June Tinsley, said: “Barnardos has long campaigned for the Children First Guidelines to be put on a statutory footing and today we welcome the full and final provisions coming into effect. This is a very positive step as it sends out a strong societal message that child protection is everyone’s responsibility. Building on the well-established and strong foundations of the Children First Guidelines, the new provisions outline a wide breadth of professionals who are ‘mandated persons’ thereby extending this collective responsibility to protect children.
“Like with any new law, effective and consistent implementation is key, so it does remain to be seen how the provisions will translate into practice. Tusla has issued a suite of publications and online training to enhance awareness and understanding of the new responsibilities. But given it is likely to lead to an increase in referrals to Tusla, having adequate staff and resources in place to respond appropriately and timely is vital.”