Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children  provides the national guidance for the protection and welfare of children in Ireland. A child is defined under the Child Care Act 1991 as anyone under the age of 18 years who is not, or has not been married.
The guidance is a roadmap to help parents, professionals,organisations and the general public to identify and report child abuse and welfare concerns.
It also states what organisations need to do to keep children safe, and what different bodies and the general public should do if they are concerned about a child’s safety and welfare.
The Guidance also contains protocols for social workers, Gardaí and other front line staff dealing with suspected abuse and neglect.
Society has a duty of care towards children and everyone should be alert to the possibility that children with whom they are in contact may be being abused or be at risk of abuse.
Child and Family Agency and Children First
The Child and Family Agency has a legal responsibility under the Care Act 1991 to promote the welfare and protection of children. Any person who has a concern about a child should report this to the Child and Family Agency.