Professional Profiles

Guardian ad Litem Professional Profiles

  • Freda McKittrick - Head of Barnardos Guardian ad Litem Service

    Freda McKittrick has been a Guardian ad Litem since 1997, having previously worked as a social worker and senior social worker in London. Since 2002 she has been the manager of the Barnardos service bringing the service from 5 practitioners in 2002 to 32 practitioners today, with a strong emphasis on child centred, quality service provision.

    Freda has wide experience as a Guardian ad Litem in complex childcare and family law casework and has a strong interest in children’s voice, rights, participation, and the role of the Guardian ad Litem in the Irish Court System. Freda is trained in Forensic Interviewing of Children. Freda has sat as a Lay Member on Tribunals held under the Mental Health Act, she is on CORU’s preliminary complaints screening committee and in November 2016 she was appointed to the Board of the Legal Aid Board.

    In 2012, Freda received the Canon Maurice Handy Award for contribution to the understanding of Family Relationships.

    In 2020, Freda completed Mediation Training, including Family Mediation, and is a member of the Mediator’s Institute of Ireland.

    Freda has limited availability for cases in Dublin and in the South West of the country. CORU registered social worker SW0001958. Bachelor Social Studies, CQSW TCD 1985.

  • Monica Hynds - Practice Manager

    Monica Hynds joined Barnardos Guardian ad Litem service in 2017. She has a range of experience in child care proceedings in the District Court. Monica has particular skills in working with children who have experienced childhood trauma and neglect.

    Monica qualified as a social worker in 1996 and has wide experience as a social worker and team leader with HSE (TUSLA) in both child protection and family support services, working predominantly with families experiencing addiction, mental health and/or domestic violence issues. She has worked in practice development and has extensive experience in quality assurance of services, including audits of services, policy and standards development, design and delivery of services and research. Monica endeavours to ensure the voice of the child is heard in court proceedings.

    As Practice Manager within the service Monica supervises a number of Guardians as Litem. Monica is a member of the IASW and her CORU membership number is 005289

  • Miriam Lyne - Head of Service (South)

    Miriam Lyne has been a Guardian ad Litem in Ireland since 2000. Based in the Cork regional office, she is Head of Service (South) and manages a team of 14 Freelance Guardians ad Litem working in the South. Miriam has wide experience as a Guardian ad Litem in complex child care and family law casework, including cases that have been protracted in the Court system. She also has experience of working with children who have been placed out of state.

    Miriam qualified as a social worker in 1988. She has completed part 1 of a Higher Diploma in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy and Mediation training. Miriam has a particular interest in working collaboratively within the childcare system.

    Prior to her work with Barnardos, Miriam practiced as a social worker for over 13 years, mainly in the areas of Child Protection and Fostering.

    Miriam has limited availability for cases in Cork. CORU registered social worker 702.

  • Bríd Barry - Guardian ad Litem

    Bríd Barry joined Barnardos Guardian ad Litem team in 2008. Achieving the very best outcome for children is Bríd's core principle. To this end, Bríd works diligently with statutory and multi-disciplinary teams where her role is to seek solutions to complex difficulties. Bríd provides supervision to a number of Guardians ad Litem within the Barnardos service.

    Bríd's specific areas of interest include working with families with transgenerational attachment trauma, the influence of parental mental ill-health and addiction on the parent-child relationship, accessing appropriate scaffolding to best resource care placements; and sourcing long term care placements for vulnerable young adults. Over the past 5 years, Bríd has focused her ongoing training to these key areas.

    Since completing a Masters Degree in Social Work in 2002, Brid has worked within the field of Child Protection and Welfare, both in Ireland and in Kenya. Bríd has worked as a supervisor of Guardian ad Litem within Barnardos since 2012.

    Bríd is available for cases in Cork, Waterford, Kerry, Limerick and Tipperary.

  • Caroline Burke - Guardian ad Litem

    Caroline Burke joined the Barnardos Guardian ad Litem team in 2017. Caroline has extensive court experience in District, Circuit and High Courts. As well as particular expertise in Child Protection & Welfare Services, Caroline has extensive Court experience having dealt with and managed complex and protracted Court applications. Caroline managed a team of Social Workers for 7 years both Children in Care Teams and Fostering Teams. Through her experience in Advocacy and Disability Support, Caroline advocated on behalf of persons with intellectual disabilities for 2 years. Additional duties included court support work, project development and promoting advocacy. Caroline was also a disability support worker with the Autism Association of New South Wales, Australia. Caroline managed and co-ordinated a domestic violence service for women and children which included an accommodation service and an indigenous outreach service.

    Caroline is available to take cases in the South, South West and Mid-west areas. Registered social worker SW2531.

  • Caroline Shore - Guardian ad Litem

    Caroline Shore has been a Guardian ad Litem with Barnardos since 2007. She has a range of experiences in complex child care proceedings, including working with children with intellectual and communication difficulties, non-Irish national and separated children where citizenship is at issue. She also has experience in High Court matters relating to children in Special Care.

    Caroline qualified as a social worker in 1996 and her professional background is in child protection social work, working in both the Western and Southern regions of the HSE as a social worker and senior social work practitioner. Since 2006 Caroline has been employed as a college lecturer and year coordinator on the Masters of Social Work programme in University College Cork, specialising in the teaching of child protection and welfare and cultural competence. She is a member of a European research network looking at socio- legal decision making in respect of children. She is also a member of the UCC Child Care Proceedings Research Group, and she is published in this area. Caroline is an independent member of the Cork Foster Care Committee.

    Caroline has limited availability for cases in Cork. CORU registered social worker 3270.

  • Catherine Curran - Guardian ad Litem

    Catherine Curran has been a Guardian ad Litem since 2012. She has over 30 years of experience working with children in care, their families and related proceedings. Catherine has worked in the District and High Courts on a broad range of cases and has much experience working with teenagers who are at high risk. Given her wide-ranging involvement with children and their families, Catherine has the ability to adapt her work to confront presenting difficulties / problems and to agree solutions. Catherine was a Social Work Tutor at TCD for 10 years.

    Catherine has a Masters in Social Work (UCD, 1993) and a Masters in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (UCD, 2010). She is a member of APPI (Association of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapists).

    She is available to act in cases in the Dublin, Midlands and Southeast regions. CORU registered social worker 3314.

  • Claire Brogan - Guardian ad Litem

    Claire Brogan has been a Guardian ad Litem with Barnardos since June 2013. Claire is a strong advocate for the voice of the child and since commencing as a Guardian ad Litem has worked across the country representing children's views and wishes to the court. She has worked with a number of sibling groups and has a proven skill in working with adolescents with behavioural problems.

    Claire has worked with vulnerable children in other area of social care for the past 20 years. She worked as a social worker and a team leader for 7 years from 2006. She has always had an interest in the law and how this can work in the best interest of children in the care of the state. Claire completed a Masters in Social Work (University of Edinburgh) in 2006 and has attended training with NAGALRO on “Communicating with Children” and also module 1 with the Anna Freud Centre - infant mental health.

    Claire is available to take cases in Dublin and surrounding areas. CORU registered social worker 5854.

  • Claire O’Connor - Guardian ad Litem

    Claire O’Connor has been working as a Guardian ad Litem with the Beacon Guardian ad Litem Service since 2009. Claire has wide-ranging experience as a Guardian ad Litem in complex child care and family law casework, including work with special care cases, addiction, neglect, high risk cases and children with complex special needs. She was involved in the drafting of the Practice Manual for Guardians ad Litem with the Barnardos Service.

    For over 7 years, Claire worked as a social worker in a variety of settings – including Manager of RACS (Risk Assessment and Consultation Service) and as part of a Child Protection Team. She completed a Masters in Social Work in 2002 and, in 2009, completed a Postgrad Diploma in Mental Health at TCD.

    Claire is available to take cases in Dublin and its surrounding areas. CORU registered social worker 3278.

  • David Hartley - Guardian ad Litem

    David Hartley has practiced as a Guardian ad Litem with Barnardos since 2011. David has experience of working with children who present challenging and complex behaviour. He has worked with many children in special care environments and secure settings overseas. In his work, David places an emphasis on collaborative working and he takes an inclusive approach regarding multi-disciplinary practice. David strives to ensure children's rights are protected and their voices heard. David has experience of working in the District Court and the High Court. He has acted as Guardian ad Litem for children in care of the Child and Family Agency and for children in private family law proceedings. David has delivered training on behalf of Barnardos regarding child care legislation and the court process. David sits as a Lay Member on Mental Health Tribunals.

    David qualified as a social worker in 2001 and, prior to his work as a Guardian ad Litem, he worked as a social worker and social work team leader in Dublin inner city for over 8 years.

    David is available to act as Guardian ad Litem for cases in Dublin and surrounding areas. CORU registered social worker 3255.

  • Diane McHugh - Guardian ad Litem

    Diane McHugh has been a Guardian ad Litem since 2011 where she has worked in the areas of Child Care and Family Law. She has a strong interest in representing the voice of the child and working in collaboration with children’s parents and relevant professionals.

    Diane qualified as a social worker in 1986 and completed an MA in Healthcare Management in 2000. Prior to working with Barnardos Diane spend over 25 years working within the HSE Children and Families – including at senior management level – where she developed a particular interest in working with separated children seeking asylum. Diane’s areas of expertise include assessment of risk and assessment of attachment and she values working with a multi-agency / multi-disciplinary approach.

    Diane works in the East and South- East regions. CORU registered social worker 3303.

  • Diane O’Rourke - Guardian ad Litem

    Diane O’Rourke was appointed as Guardian ad Litem with Barnardos Service in October 2015. Prior to this she worked for over 9 years with HSE / Child and Family Agency in a variety of areas including Child Protection and Welfare Services, Children In Care and Fostering Services; Child Abuse and Neglect cases, Non-Irish National Children and Families; Children and Adolescents with behavioural difficulties and addiction issues.

    Diane qualified as a social worker in 2006 and also holds a Diploma in Montessori Teaching.

    She is available for cases in the South East area. CORU registered social worker 3064.

  • Dónal Traynor - Guardian ad Litem

    Dónal Traynor joined the Barnardos Guardian ad Litem team in 2019. Dónal has over twenty years’ experience in child protection and working with vulnerable children, young people and families. Dónal has an eclectic social work career, both in Ireland and in the United Kingdom. Dónal has worked with varieties of cultures, subcultures and different social structures. He has particular expertise in the areas of children in care, sexual health and child welfare and child protection.

    Dónal is also experienced in assessing applicants who wish to adopt a child or children domestically or inter-country. He has experience of assessing applicants, while helping them explore issues such as insecure attachments, developmental trauma, identity, racism and helping an adopted child deal with loss.

    Dónal qualified as a social worker in 1998 with a Bachelor of Social Studies, leading to NQSW Trinity College, Dublin. Dónal has lengthy experience as a social worker in the areas of Child Protection, Children in care, Medical and Sexual health.

    Dónal is available for cases in the Munster and Leinster areas. CORU registered social worker 2658.

  • Eilish Forrest - Guardian ad Litem

    Eilish Forrest was appointed Guardian ad Litem with Barnardos in 2011. Since then she has worked with children from infancy to adolescence. Eilish has gained expertise in the areas of Child Sexual Abuse, Childhood Trauma and Infant Mental Health and her caseload has included a placement abroad.

    Eilish completed a Masters of Social Work in 2000 and has over 11 years practice in the field of child protection with specific experience in child abuse & neglect, domestic violence, substance abuse and child trafficking. She has worked as a part-time lecturer and tutor on the Masters of Social Work programme at University College, Cork. Eilish is committed to promoting the best interest of the child within the court context. She avails of regular training in Ireland and in England to inform her practice in child care matters relevant to her case work.

    Eilish is available for cases in Cork city and county, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford. CORU registered social worker 4457.

  • Gráinne Grennan - Guardian ad Litem

    Grainne Grennan has been a Guardian ad Litem with Barnardos since 2005. She has particular expertise in working with cases involving complex non-accidental injury, child abuse and neglect, children with disabilities as well as adolescents presenting with mental health/behaviour/addiction issues, including those placed abroad. She also has worked with families from Eastern Europe and from West Africa.

    Gráinne qualified as a social worker in 1992 and prior to her position with Barnardos she worked as a social worker and team leader in Donegal and in Dublin. During this time she specialised in the areas of Child Protection, Family Risk Assessments, Assessment of adoptive and foster carers and Children in long-term care. She worked as a practice teacher for social work students over ten years. Gráinne was involved in a specialist team set up to investigate institutional abuse over a one-year period and she provided reports for the Family Law Assessor Service from 2008 until 2011.

    Gráinne is available to act in Dublin and surrounding counties. CORU registered social worker 3471

  • Mairéad Cleary - Guardian ad Litem

    Ms Mairéad Cleary joined the Barnardos Guardian ad Litem team in 2021. Mairéad has worked in children's residential care and child protection social work with vulnerable children, young people and families for twenty years.

    She is experienced in working with children and their families presenting with trauma, emotional dysregulation, addiction, mental health issues and teenage homelessness.

    Mairéad has in-depth knowledge regarding children in residential care from mainstream to high support settings. She is particularly experienced in working with teenagers in crisis using therapeutic crisis intervention.

    Mairéad’s values building genuine and empathic relationships with children and their families to identify the most appropriate outcomes.

    Mairéad qualified as a social worker in 2008 with a Bachelor of Social Work with University College Cork. She went on to complete an MS in Counselling & Psychotherapy with Irish College of Humanities & Applied Sciences, Limerick.

    Mairéad has particular expertise in the areas of child protection, children in care and with the community drugs projects.

    Mairéad is available for cases in South Lee, Cork County, Mallow, Clonakilty, Nenagh and Kerry areas. CORU registered social worker No SW009990

  • Mary Tiernan - Guardian ad Litem

    Mary Tiernan has been a Guardian ad Litem with Barnardos since 2010. Mary’s experience as a Guardian ad Litem is comprehensive and she has represented children in a range of complex childcare and family law cases at District, Circuit and High Court level. She has particular expertise in relation to children with mental health difficulties who are the subject of special care applications and also placed outside the jurisdiction. She has worked extensively with children in long term care who have experienced placement breakdown and who have complex needs arising from experiences of trauma and disrupted attachment. Mary also has experience working with the Muslim community and with cultural mediators.

    Mary qualified as a social worker in 1994 and, prior to her work with Barnardos, worked for 15 years as a Social Worker and Social Work Team Leader in Ireland, Northern Ireland and England.

    Mary works with cases in Dublin and the North East. CORU registered social worker 3375.

  • Monica Smart - Guardian ad Litem

    Monica Smart has been working as a Guardian ad Litem with Barnardos Service since 2013. She has acted on behalf of children and adolescents in both the District and High Courts and has gained experience in a range of areas including attachment difficulties, challenging behaviours and aftercare issues. Monica is skilled in dealing with complex and conflictual cases.

    Monica holds a Masters Degree in Social Work (1996, UCC) and has over 13 years experience of working in the field in both Ireland and England. She has practiced in all aspects of child protection work, including risk assessments, Court Reports, applications for Care Orders. Monica has also worked as a hospital social worker.

    She is available for cases in Cork, Kerry, Limerick and Tipperary. CORU registered social worker 11710

  • Morgan Madden - Guardian ad Litem

    Morgan Madden commenced as a Guardian ad Litem in 2017, progressing from working as a child protection social worker and social work team leader. Based in Cork and available to work in the Munster region, Morgan has gained extensive experience in working with complex cases through his role in Child Protection in Dublin City Centre since 2010.

    A core element to Morgan’s practice is in working in a respectful and honest manner with each client. Morgan has particular experience in working with young people and their families, producing thorough assessments, tailored care plans and detailed court reports.

    Morgan has specialised in working with teenagers with mental health issues, drug and alcohol misuse, behavioural issues and complex care needs. Through this work, Morgan has considerable and repeated experience in Special Care settings, High Courts applications and reviews, drug treatment, (both within the community and through specialised residential units), and mental health assessments and services.

    Morgan has completed training in assessing child sexual abuse disclosures and child perpetrators of sexual abuse; working with Children with behavioral difficulties, and social work in the field of psychiatry at a community level.

    Between 2011 and 2017 Morgan worked as a Team Leader and Social Worker in Child Protection and Children in Care in Dublin North Central. He has a Masters in Social Work from UCC (2010); and a Bachelor of Social Science UCC 2008.

    CORU registered social worker 4893.

  • Pauline Underwood - Guardian ad Litem

    Pauline Underwood has been a Guardian ad Litem since 2005 and joined Barnardos Service in 2008. She has wide experience as Guardian ad Litem in complex family law cases in the District, Circuit and High Courts including out of state placements (UK and Sweden), secure care, children detained under the Mental Health Act, Asylum Seekers and unaccompanied minors. Pauline has also attended the European Court of Justice as a Guardian ad Litem and has been appointed as 'Legitimus Contradictor' to a young adult in the context of High Court proceedings. Pauline provides supervision to a number of Guardians ad Litem within the Barnardos service.

    Pauline is a professionally qualified Social Worker with over 15 years experience of Child Protection as a Social Worker, Social Work Team Leader and Principal Social Worker - including chair of child protection case conferences and fostering panels. She qualified as a social worker in 1989 and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Child Protection and Welfare at TCD (1999). She has also completed Level One training in Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP), a psychological treatment for vulnerable children with trauma and attachment difficulties and their families.

    Pauline is available for cases in Dublin and surrounding counties. CORU registered social worker 3554.

  • Raymond McEvoy - Guardian ad Litem

    Raymond has been a Guardian ad Litem with Barnardos since July 2003. He has wide-ranging experience working with children and families, particularly in the areas of Mental Health and Disabilities. He displays finely-tuned report writing skills and is fully committed to the child being at the centre of his work, particularly in relation to court proceedings. He works collaboratively with family and all agencies involved in the life of the child.

    Raymond qualified as a social worker in 1987 and, prior to his appointment as a Guardian ad Litem, he worked on a variety of teams including Family & Child Care, Community Mental Health and Community Care.

    Raymond is available for cases in Dublin and North-Eastern counties. CORU registered social worker 5357.

  • Sharon Doyle - Guardian ad Litem

    Sharon Doyle has been a Guardian ad Litem with Barnardos since January 2013. Sharon’s experience includes carrying out comprehensive assessments and completing direct work with children who have been victims of multifaceted abuse, children with complex trauma and care needs, and children with disabilities. She predominantly works with children and families in Childcare Proceedings as well as working with a small cohort of vulnerable adults in Wardship Proceedings and Private Family Law cases.

    Prior to becoming a Guardian ad Litem, Sharon worked as a Social Worker in HSE Child Protection & Welfare Service, Family Welfare Conference Coordinator with Barnardos and as a Residential Childcare Worker with young people with complex needs.

    Sharon has a Masters in Social Work (2006), Diploma in Family Law (2008) & Certificate in Forensic Interviewing of Children & Vulnerable Adults (2018). Sharon has also completed various training modules in Developmental Trauma, Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (Anna Freud Centre, London), Technology Based Communication Tools in Direct Work with Children (Child & Family Training, UK), Theraplay (Level 1) & Mediation Skills.

    She is available for cases in Munster and Leinster areas. CORU Registered Social Worker 3125.

  • Siobhan Beamish - Guardian ad Litem

    Ms Beamish joined the Barnardos Guardian ad Litem team in 2019. Siobhan has worked in the area of child protection with vulnerable children, young people and families for twenty four years. Siobhan is experienced in clinically assessing complex children’s needs and identifying the most appropriate intervention. She is particularly focused on the importance of ensuring that children’s needs are clearly identified and responded to in a timely manner.

    Siobhan is a qualified play therapist and has particular expertise in the areas of abuse, neglect and domestic violence.

    She is available for cases in the Cork, Tipperary, Waterford, Kerry areas. Siobhan is a member of CORU: SW000808

  • Suzanne O’Donovan - Guardian ad Litem

    Since being appointed as a Guardian ad Litem in May 2014, Suzanne has gained experience of working with children and young people who have learning disabilities, are on the Autistic Spectrum, are placed in residential care and ranging from 0-18 years and beyond. Suzanne is also experienced in working with children with physical disabilities, developmental delay, children and young people with mental health difficulties and with young people transitioning to Aftercare services.

    She has extensive experience of working in the area of Child Care Law in the Irish Court System. Suzanne has a particular interest in supporting and advocating for children and young people in the care system, infant mental health, neurodevelopment and developmental and relational trauma.

    Suzanne holds a Masters Degree in Social Work (UCC, 2003) and, previous to her work as a Guardian ad Litem, she worked as a Social Worker in the area of Child Protection and Welfare for eleven years where she was involved in assessing needs, evaluating risks, supporting children and families and engaging in direct work with children and young people.

    Suzanne works in the Cork, West and Mid-West regions. CORU registered social worker 3028.

  • Terry Bradshaw - Guardian ad Litem

    Terry Bradshaw was appointed to the Guardian ad Litem panel at Barnardos in January 2014. Since then he has worked with children of varying ages from Ireland, from a number of other countries and from different ethnic groups. He has undergone training in relation to interviewing children about traumatic events and child sexual abuse and is considered to be skilled in these areas. Terry has sizable experience working with adolescents with learning difficulties – particularly in relation to aftercare. Having acted in matters involving child sexual abuse, Terry has a particular interest in the dynamics involved in such cases.

    Terry qualified as a social worker in 1997 and since then has worked in a number of social work positions in the Cork area, including as Senior Social Work Practitioner. During this time Terry worked on teams dealing with forensic interviews and assessment of allegations by children in cases of suspected child sexual abuse and training prospective foster carers in the area of child sexual abuse. He also has experience of undertaking direct work with children and adolescents at risk and with their extended families.

    Terry is available to act in cases from Kerry, Limerick and Tipperary. CORU registered social worker 3052.

     

  • Theresa McDonagh - Guardian ad Litem

    Theresa McDonagh was appointed as a Guardian ad Litem with Barnardos in 2011. Since then she has gained considerable experience working with both children and adolescents, many of whom have very complex presentations or have complex family circumstances. Theresa has a special interest in working with children with disabilities or those who present with behaviours that are challenging for those who care for them.

    Theresa is a qualified social worker since 1992 and has over 20 years’ experience working in social work settings in Ireland and in England. She has worked in statutory Child Protection services for almost 10 years; has worked in Disability Services within the Health Service Executive (Tusla) and has experience of managing social work teams in both settings. She has extensive experience of negotiating and planning innovative and individualised models of service with service providers in disability services. Theresa has been involved in a number of Independent Reviews / Investigations and is an accredited Child Protection Trainer with Barnardos and Adult Protection Trainer in Disability Services.

    Theresa is available for cases in Tipperary. Carlow, Waterford and Wexford. CORU registered social worker 8616.

  • Úna McElroy - Guardian ad Litem

    Úna McElroy joined Barnardos Guardian ad Litem Service in 2020. She has extensive experience working with children and families with complex needs in Tusla Children in Care teams in Cork and Dublin and with adult survivors of institutional abuse. Úna has particular interest in the impact of trauma and neglect on children’s development and adopts a trauma informed approach to her work with children and young people. She has considerable experience in working with:

    Adolescents with mental health and attachment issues, who display extremely challenging and often violent behaviours

    Children with various Autistic Spectrum Conditions and Intellectual Disability and is skilled in completing thorough assessments of children and young people with these needs.

    Úna is experienced in working in the District Court and High Court. Úna qualified as a social worker in 2014 and has an additional qualification in counselling. Una has also completed training in relation to mental health issues for individuals with Autism Spectrum Conditions, managing challenging behaviour and has completed Signs of Safety training. She is committed to representing the child’s wishes and feelings and completed a Certificate in Child and Youth Participation training in 2018. Una was subject to Barnardos Guardian ad Litem Service’s thorough selection and Garda vetting processes and makes use of Barnardos professional supervision and training. CORU Registration No. SW007248

  • Yvonne Guerin - Guardian ad Litem

    Yvonne Guerin joined Barnardos Guardian ad Litem Service in 2017. She has extensive court experience in District, Circuit and High Courts. Yvonne has particular skill in working with children who have experienced attachment difficulties or who have experienced childhood trauma and neglect. She has developed considerable expertise in working with children and adolescents with behavioural difficulties and addiction issues.

    Yvonne qualified as a social worker in 2000 and has worked in various settings including Child Protection and Welfare Services, Children In Care and Fostering Services and Non-Irish National Children and Families. She completed a Masters in Social Science (Social Work) in 2005 when she completed her final year dissertation on the area of mental health and involuntary detention.

    Her CORU registration number is SW6054.