Tusla - Ireland's Child & Family Agency

Children First Act 2015

This account of the Act is not a complete authoritiative statement on the Children First Act 2015, and is not a legal interpretation of same. 

“The Agency” as referred to throughout is in reference to “Tusla -  Child and Family Agency”.

The Children First Act 2015 was enacted on 19th November 2015.

It is important to note that although this Act has been enacted, it has not been fully commenced. Sections 1-5 and Section 28 were commenced on the 11th of December 2015.  Section 18 and 20-26 were commenced on 1st May 2016.  It is expected that The Minister will be signing the remaining Commencement Orders on a phased basis.

The Criminal Justice (Withholding of Information on Offences against Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act, 2012 and the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act, 2012  are additional key pieces of complementary legislation designed to improve child safety and protection.

The responsibilities and principles outlined in “Children First, National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children” 2011 and any additional guidance issued by the Minister continue to apply to all in relation to the safeguarding of children. The policy intent is that the legislation will operate side-by-side with the existing non-statutory obligations provided for in Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children (2011).

Children First, National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children” 2011, is currently being revised and updated to reflect the legislation. This is to ensure that the Guidance will continue as a primary reference for all citizens to report concerns and includes the new legislative obligations. This will provide clarity between the legislation and the existing non-statutory obligations which will continue to operate for all sectors of society.

The full text of the Children First Act 2015 is avilable here and a background to the Act can be found at www.dcya.gov.ie.

Further information regarding Part 5 of the Act; Miscellaneous is available here

Purpose of the Act

  • To raise awareness of child abuse and neglect;
  • To provide for mandatory reporting by key professionals;
  • To improve child protection arrangements in organisations providing services to children;
  • To provide for inter-agency working and information-sharing in relation to assessments by the Agency.

The following options give a brief summary of key elements of the various Parts of the Children First Act 2015:


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