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Privacy Notice for Children & Young People

Privacy notice for children and young people using Barnardos Guardian ad Litem Service.

Information for children and young people

Ask your Barnardos Guardian ad Litem to help you with any parts of this information you find hard, and they will be happy to help you.

Barnardos is a charity that works with children, young people and their families.
Our office is in Dublin. Its address is:

Barnardos National Office
4 Christchurch Square
Dublin 8
DO8 DT63

You can contact us by email at: [email protected] or phone us at call save 1850 222 300

Our charity registration number is 20010027.

About this information

This information is called a ‘Privacy Notice’. We know you might be worried about your privacy and telling us things when you work with us, and that is why we have written this. We hope that it will help you to understand what we do to protect your privacy. We are always careful with your information, and we only share it when we have to.About the Barnardos Guardia ad Litem Service and your privacy

The Barnardos Guardian ad Litem service is a service for:

  • children and young people under 18 years
  • where a Judge – an important legal person – is asked to decide what is best for a child or young person, and they ask a Guardian ad Litem to help them make decisions.

We call the person who works for you directly a Guardian ad Litem – Latin words – or Guardian for short.

We want to help you understand your privacy rights

We may use some words that might be new to you, and we have tried to explain them clearly. Please ask your Guardian any time you want us to explain words more or give you examples.

This information is set out in eight parts:

  1. your seven privacy rights
  2. what personal information we keep about you
  3. why we collect and keep this information
  4. what the law says about us doing this
  5. where we get our information about you
  6. how long we keep your information
  7. who we share your information with
  8. what you can do if you think we are not using your information correctly.

Get help to understand as you need it

You won’t remember all of this information, so your Guardian will remind you of important bits as you work with us. You can also ask them to go through it with you again, as this will help you understand better and feel more confident.

We respect your privacy, and we work to keep your information safe and to only give it to people who need to see it. We will tell you about what people may need to see it later on.

Your Privacy

We want to help you understand your privacy rights, so do ask us for help any time you would like it.

We want to respect your privacy. By law, you have seven privacy rights.

  1. You can find out how we use your information. We mainly use your information to tell the Judge how you are getting on or when we give advice to the Judge about what we think should happen next. Sometimes, we will use some of your information in other ways. For example, we might use some of your information to help us figure out how many boys or girls we are working with.

  2. You can ask to see information we hold on you. For example, we hold information about how you are doing and what you are thinking and feeling.

  3. You can ask us to change information that is wrong. For example, did we write down correctly the name of your favourite aunt who you would like to see more of? If not, then you can ask us to change it.

  4. You can ask us to get rid of information when it’s not needed anymore. For example, John is aged 14 and he asks us to get rid of information we have about a small operation he had when he was 6 years old.

  5. You can ask us to send your information to someone else to use. For example, Gráinne asks us to send her and her social worker copies of letters and drawings she did when she was younger, for her life story work.

  6. You can ask us not to use your information if you think we have gotten it wrong. For example, other adults tell us that Ryan used to stay with his granny a lot before he came into care, but Ryan tells us that isn’t true. We must check which is true. Until then we can’t tell the court that Ryan used to stay with his granny a lot.

  7. You can complain to the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner. This means that if you think we have not corrected information after you have asked us to or you think we have shared information about you in a way that does not respect your right to privacy, you can complain to someone else outside of Barnardos. This person outside Barnardos deals with these types of questions all the time.

    This person is called the Data Protection Commissioner, and they will take your complaint very seriously and follow up to see if your privacy rights have not been respected.

    You can contact the Data Protection Commissioner on Tel: 0761 104800 or

Personal information is information that could identify you. It includes your name, age and the date of your birthday.

We have to follow the law when we deal with your information. The data protection law is the law we have to most closely follow in our Guardian ad Litem service. It guides us about how to collect information about you in a fair way – and how we should use it fairly too.

Your Guardian keeps information about you so that they can tell the Judge in a courtroom:

  • why people who know you want the Judge’s help to decide what is best for you
  • about what has happened to you
  • how you are getting on now
  • what you are thinking and feeling
  • what the Guardian thinks is best now for you

The Judge says that your Guardian is allowed to ask people for this information so that the Guardian can tell the Judge about you.

Your Guardian will keep private information about you in the file. This file will include information like:

  • General information
  • More detailed information
  • Special information.

Let’s look at each of these one by one.

General information

  • Personal information like your name, date of your birthday, address
  • Who is in your family

More detailed information we keep – including documents

  • The reasons that your family’s case is in court
  • Any meetings, calls, letters or emails your Guardian has with you or your family
  • Letters or reports to court from the Guardian about you and how you are
  • Letters and reports to and from other people like social workers, your school, your doctor or your parents doctor
  • Any workbooks you complete with the Guardian or copies of letters you write to the Judge
  • Other information such as court orders. A court order is the Judge’s decision about what is to be done or not done for example a judge will decide if a child or young person is going to live at home or in care. A Judge is a very experienced person who wants to get the best care for you.

Special information

  • This includes information like your gender (girl, boy …), racial origin (for example White Irish, Asian, Black Irish African) or ethnic origin (for example Irish Traveller, Chinese)
  • Religious beliefs and health information.

Your Guardian service collects information on our work with you to:

  • make sure you get a suitable service
  • help the Court decide on next steps.

In general, only your Guardian and certain people like staff from Barnardos Guardian ad Litem service will be able to see your file. Your Guardian may discuss some of your details with a manager or supervisor. If they do, they are doing this to make sure you get the best service.

By law, we can process your personal information because:

  • Your Guardian must – by law – give regular reports to the Court so that it knows about the work the Guardian is doing with you. We also have to follow laws to keep children safe and Company Law which make sure that organisations and charities like Barnardos are well run.
  • We need to make sure that Barnardos does its work well.

We collect information about you from:

  • people
  • documents


Information we collect from people like:Information we get from documents like:Information we get from what we see
  • you
  • your parents
  • the lawyers involved in your family’s case
  • TUSLA staff (your social worker)
  • other professionals
  • people who know you or your family – this includes foster carers, other family members, your school, your doctor

We keep your information for as long as you are working with your Guardian. When the Judge says that your Guardian doesn’t need to work with you any longer we store your information safely.

We have a document that tells us how long we should keep your file, how to keep it safely and how to get rid of it (we usually shred it). (This document is called the Barnardos Retention Policy. ‘Retention’ means ‘keep’.)

  1. The Judge
    The Judge is an important legal person we share your information with and they make important decisions. For example, the Court has a privacy rule called the in camera rule. In camera is Latin for ‘in a room’ or ‘private’. This rule is to make sure your privacy is respected. This means that no one can share your information unless the Judge’s says this is okay to do.

  2. Your parents
    They will see what your Guardian has written about you to the Judge in the Guardian’s report. This ‘report’ is really a letter to the Judge about you. Your Guardian will tell you what they are saying to the Judge about what you want and how you feeling and what your Guardian thinks is best for you.

  3. Your social worker
    They will also see what your Guardian has written about you to the Judge.

  4. Other professionals
    We may need to share information with other people like: your foster carer or staff in the residential home where you are living.

Sharing information in this way helps to make sure that you are properly taken care of.

Example 1:

Mary (aged 8) sees her family once a month, but Mary wants to see her family more often.

The Judge makes a court order (what the Judge says must happen) changing the number of times Mary sees her family from once a month to twice a month. The Judge made this this change as they thought this would help Mary.

In this situation, Mary’s social worker will have to tell Mary’s foster family. In this way, they will know to expect that Mary sees her family twice a month.

We may also need to share information with other people if we need to keep you or others safe.

Example 2:

If Sean (aged 14) told his Guardian that another young person in school was hurting him, then Sean’s Guardian would have to tell the social worker and school to make sure that everyone was safe.

Others like our business partners, suppliers and sub-contractors and / or when the law through the court says that we must share information with you.

Example 3:

If we are getting part of our computer system fixed, the person fixing it (called a contractor) might be able to see some of your information. We would make sure that this person took your privacy very seriously. We would make sure they signed a legal agreement about this

How we protect information about you when we have to share it.

If we share your information we always make sure we protect your personal information. Some of the ways we do this are:

  • Making sure that the person we are sharing your information with takes your privacy seriously. We may ask them to sign a legal letter that says how they will do this
  • Using a password when we send your information by email
  • Making sure our computers and email are protected

Sending personal information to other countries

These rights are part of the data protection law and are called the General Data Protection Regulation – or GDPR for short. A group of countries have signed up to these laws. This group of countries are in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Ireland is one of these countries.

Sometimes, Barnardos Guardian ad Litem service might need to send your personal information to countries outside of this group of countries. This is very unusual and if we had to do this, don’t worry as we would take good care to keep it safe – and protected. We would make sure that we had special legal agreements to make sure your information is safe and you have the same rights.

For example, we always have passwords so only those we trust can open information about you. We also make sure that our email system and computer are encrypted (protected). This means nobody can get your information unless they have the right password.

Tell us about it by emailing us at: [email protected] or phone us at Call save: 1850 222 300

If you believe that Barnardos is not managing your information in a ways that respects your privacy rights, then you can complain to an outside person called Helen Dixon.

She is the head of the Data Protection Office. She is the Commissioner there. You can phone the Data Protection Office at: 0761 104800 or email them at

One of her staff will reply to you.

Contact Us

If you would like more information about our Guardian ad Litem service, please contact one of our offices.

Dublin office: Christchurch Square, Dublin 8.
Tel: (01) 453 0355 Fax: (01) 453 0300 [email protected]

Cork office: Blackmore House, Meade Street, Cork.
Tel: (021) 431 0591 Fax: (021) 431 0691 [email protected]

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