In Ireland the Child Care Act 1991 defines a child as any person under the age of 18 years, excluding a person who is or who has been married.
Child protection is the protection of children from violence, exploitation, abuse and neglect.
If your organisation engages children, you may have obligations under the Children First Act 2015, more information can be found here: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/9d95ef-information-on-children-first/#what-should-i-do-if-i-have-serious-concerns-about-a-child-and-i-cannot-contact-tusla
Safeguarding is the action that is taken to promote the welfare of children and young people and protect them from harm.
Child protection is part of the safeguarding process. It focuses on protecting individual children/young people identified as suffering or likely to suffer significant harm. This includes child protection procedures which detail how to respond to concerns about a child.
Statutory Obligations of relevant services include:
- Carry out a risk assessment to identify whether a child or young person could be harmed while receiving your services.
- Develop a Child Safeguarding Statement that outlines the policies and procedures which are in place to manage the risks that have been identified.
- Appoint a relevant person to be the first point of contact in respect of the organisation’s Child Safeguarding Statement.
TUSLA: An Introduction to Children First E-Learning Programme
TUSLA has developed a comprehensive Children First e-learning module which is universally available, free of charge and sets out the basic information required to recognise and report child welfare and protection concerns.
The following organisations can assist you with your child protection obligations by providing advice and training:
National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI)
NYCI support the youth work sector to safeguard children and young people. Their Child Protection Programme is based in the National Youth Council of Ireland and is funded by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.
Their National Child Protection Manager can advise youth organisations around child protection, they can be contacted on (01) 478 4122. Non youth organisations should contact TUSLA.
For the youth work sector please see the training section of their website. This can be found here.
TUSLA Child and Family Agency
The Department and Tusla have developed a suite of resources to support the full implementation of the Children First Act 2015. This includes the revision of the Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children  and the Tusla resources that can be accessed on the TUSLA website.
Contact your local Children First Information and Advice Officer for advice and guidance around child protection.
Barnardos is a charity that works with vulnerable children and their families in Ireland, and campaign for the rights of all children. They have a number of child protection resources available on their website.
Barnardos provide tailored, in-house training, more information can be found here.
Canavan Byrne is a HR solutions, management training and outsourcing company. They provide a range of business services to the Early Years Sector.
They provide an awareness raising course that is delivered by a safeguarding trainer, which ensures that all those caring for children have an awareness of child protection. This course provides information, knowledge and an opportunity through group learning for early years practitioners to understand their Children First Act 2015 and Children First Guidance 2017 compliance obligations.
To learn more about their Child Safeguard Training course please click here.