How do I make a mandated report to Tusla?
If you are a mandated person and have a concern about a child, it is your legal responsibility to make a decision as to whether the concern meets the threshold for a mandated report under the Children First Act 2015 or not. If you are satisfied that this threshold has been reached, you should clearly identify on the report that it is a mandated report made under the Children First Act.
If you are unsure whether your concern reaches the legal definition of harm for making a mandated report, you can discuss the concern with a Tusla social worker. However, the responsibility for making the decision rests with you as a mandated person under the Act.
If you are a mandated person, you cannot submit a mandated report anonymously.
The Children First Act 2015 requires mandated persons to report a mandated concern to Tusla “as soon as practicable”. The Children First Act requires Tusla to appoint authorised persons to receive mandated reports. Authorised persons are obliged to acknowledge in writing all mandated reports they receive.
If you feel urgent intervention may be required to make the child safe, you can alert Tusla of the concern in advance of submitting a written report. You must then submit a mandated report to Tusla on the report form or via the web portal within three days.
Tusla has two forms for reporting child protection and welfare concerns – the Child Protection and Welfare Report Form (CPWRF) and the Retrospective Abuse Report Form (RARF). The Child Protection and Welfare Report Form is to be completed and submitted to Tusla for concerns about children under the age of 18. A web portal has been developed for mandated persons to securely submit CPWRFs. The Retrospective Abuse Report Form is to be completed and submitted to Tusla for cases of adults disclosing childhood abuse. It is not currently possible to submit RARFs using the web portal. Both the CPWRF and RARF can be downloaded here.
As a mandated person you can make a report jointly with another person, whether that person is also a mandated person or not.
There is nothing in the Act to prevent you from either making a mandated report jointly with a designated liaison person or providing a copy of the mandated report you have submitted to Tusla for the information of the designated liaison person.
As a mandated person, you should be aware that the legal obligations under the Children First Act 2015 to report mandated concerns rest with you and not with the designated liaison person.
Where mandated persons share the same concern or information, only one person is required to report, or they can report jointly.
What if my concern does not meet the threshold for a mandated report?
If your concern does not reach the threshold for mandated reporting, but you feel it is a reasonable concern about the welfare or protection of a child, you should report it to Tusla under Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children.
Informing the family
It is best practice to tell a family you are making a report. Families have a right to know what is being reported about them. It also helps them understand the reasons for reporting and what information is being reported. However, in exceptional circumstances you may be concerned that telling the family will put the child at further risk, could impact on Tusla’s ability to carry out an assessment or could place you at risk of harm from the family. In these exceptional circumstances it is not necessary for you to tell the family you are making a report.
Mandated persons who work with adults
If you are a professional who works with or treats persons with mental health difficulties, intellectual disabilities, addiction or domestic violence issues, or if you work in probation services, you must consider the welfare and safety of any children in that person’s family and/or children in regular contact with the person. You may find yourself working with people whose health and behaviour has harmed or may harm a child. If there are concerns which meet or exceed the thresholds outlined above, then you must report them to Tusla using Tusla’s Child Protection and Welfare Report Form.
An adult you work with may also disclose that they were abused as a child. Tusla’s Retrospective Abuse Report Form should be completed and submitted to Tusla for cases of adults disclosing childhood abuse.
Tusla’s report forms are available here.
Other legal responsibilities
Legal obligations to disclose information to the Gardaí must be adhered to.
Making a mandated report under the Children First Act 2015 does not discharge the duty a person may have to report to An Garda Síochána under the Criminal Justice (Withholding of Information on Offences against Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012.
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