Child Safeguarding Statement
Tusla has responsibility for child protection and welfare services, family support, educational welfare and a range of other services, including those relating to domestic, sexual and gender-based violence.
1. The key functions of Tusla, as set out in the Child and Family Agency Act 2013, are to:
- Support and promote the development, welfare and protection of children, and the effective functioning of families.
- Offer care and protection for children in circumstances where their parents have not been able to, or are unlikely to, provide the care that a child needs. To fulfil these responsibilities, Tusla is required to maintain and develop the services needed to deliver these supports to children and families, and provide certain services for the psychological welfare of children and their families.
- Be responsible for ensuring that every child in the State attends school or otherwise receives an education, and provide education welfare services to support and monitor children’s attendance, participation and retention in education.
- Ensure that the best interests of the child guide all decisions affecting individual children.
- Consult children and families to help shape Tusla’s policies and services.
- Strengthen interagency cooperation to ensure seamless services that respond to needs.
- Undertake research relating to its functions, and provide information and advice to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs about those functions.
- Commission child and family services.
2. Tusla delivers the above functions through the following services:
- Child protection and welfare services, including family support services.
- Family Resource Centres and associated national programmes.
- Early years services regulation and inspection.
- Educational welfare responsibilities, including statutory education welfare services, the school completion programme and the home school community liaison scheme.
- Alternative care services, including foster care, residential care, special care and aftercare.
- Registration and inspection of non-statutory children’s residential centres.
- Domestic, sexual and gender-based violence services.
- Services related to the psychological welfare of children.
- Assessment, Consultation, Therapy Services (ACTS).
- Adoption services, including information and tracing.
3. Tusla’s principles to safeguard children from harm are:
- The safety and welfare of children is everyone’s responsibility.
- The best interests of the child should be paramount.
- The overall aim in all dealings with children and their families is to intervene proportionately to support families to keep children safe from harm.
- Interventions by the State should build on existing strengths and protective factors in the family.
- Early intervention is key to getting better outcomes. Where it is necessary for the State to intervene to keep children safe, the minimum intervention necessary should be used.
- Children should only be separated from parents/carers when alternative means of protecting them have been exhausted.
- Children have a right to be heard, listened to and taken seriously. Taking account of their age and understanding, they should be consulted and involved in all matters and decisions that may affect their lives.
- Parents/carers have a right to respect, and should be consulted and involved in matters that concern their family.
- A proper balance must be struck between protecting children and respecting the rights and needs of parents/carers and families.
- Child protection is a multiagency, multidisciplinary activity. Agencies and professionals must work together in the interests of the children.
4. Risk assessment of potential harm to children whilst availing of our services:
Note: the definition of harm in relation to a child is: ‘assault, ill-treatment or neglect of the child in a manner that seriously affects or is likely to seriously affect the child’s health, development or welfare, or sexual abuse of the child’.
Tusla’s organisational risk management and national incident management policies and procedures have been amended to underpin the Child Safeguarding Statement approach with the inclusion of harm as a new category of risk and with severity of risk being applied as per the Risk Management Process.
Our Child Safeguarding Statement has been developed in line with requirements under the Children First Act 2015, Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children and Tusla’s Child Safeguarding: A Guide for Policy, Procedure and Practice. In addition to the procedures listed in our risk assessment, the following procedures support our intention to safeguard children while they are availing of our services.
- Procedure for the management of allegations of abuse or misconduct against workers/volunteers of a child while availing of our service.
- Procedure for the safe recruitment and selection of workers and volunteers to work with children.
- Procedure for provision of and access to child safeguarding training and information, including the identification of the occurrence of harm.
- Procedure for the reporting of child protection or welfare concerns to Tusla.
- Procedure for maintaining a list of the persons (if any) in the relevant service who are mandated persons.
- Procedure for appointing a relevant person.
All procedures listed are available on request.
We recognise that implementation is an on-going process. Our service is committed to the implementation of this Child Safeguarding Statement and the procedures that support our intention to keep children safe from harm while availing of our services. This Child Safeguarding Statement will be reviewed by 11th February 2020 or as soon as practicable after there has been a material change in any matter to which the statement refers.
Fred McBride (Provider)
Tusla - Child and Family Agency
For queries please contact the Director of Corporate Services in the office of the Tusla CEO.
Tusla – Child and Family Agency,
Heuston South Quarter,
t. (01) 771 8500 e. firstname.lastname@example.org www.tusla.ie