How do I make a mandated report to Tusla?
As a mandated person, under the Children First Act 2015 you are required to report any knowledge, belief or reasonable suspicion that a child has been harmed, is being harmed, or is at risk of being harmed.
If you are satisfied that this threshold of harm has been reached, you should clearly identify when reporting that you are making a mandated report made under the Children First Act 2015.
If you are in doubt whether your concern reaches the legal definition of harm for making a mandated report, Tusla can provide advice in this regard. Tusla’s social work departments can be contacted through Dedicated Contact Points – details can be found here..
Section 14 of the Children First Act 2015 requires mandated persons to report a mandated concern to Tusla “as soon as practicable”. Tusla’s Web Portal allows users to securely submit child protection and welfare concerns to Tusla online.
Alternatively, you can report your concern in person, by telephone or in writing to Tusla’s social work service in the area where the child lives. Child Protection and Welfare Forms can be accesses here and should be submitted by registered post. Dedicated Contact Point information for Tusla’s social work service can be found here.
If you feel the concern may require urgent intervention to make the child safe, section 14(7) of the Children First Act 2015, allows you to alert Tusla of the concern in advance of submitting a written report. You must then submit a mandated report to Tusla on the Web Portal or by using the Child Protection and Welfare Report Form (by registered post) within 3 days.
This short video talks you through how to report a concern to Tusla. It includes information on what information to include in your report.
As a mandated person you may 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.
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 the Children First Guidance.
Informing the family
The Children First Act 2015 does not require you to inform the family that a report under the legislation is being made to Tusla. However, it is good practice to tell the family that a report is being made and the reasons for the decision.
It is not necessary to inform the family that a report is being made if by doing so the child will be placed at further risk or where the family’s knowledge of the report could impair Tusla’s ability to carry out a risk assessment. Also, you do not need to inform the family if you reasonably believe that by doing so it may place you at risk of harm from the family.
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.
Exemptions from requirements to report:
Please see the Children First Act 2015, Section 14 (3) & (4) for exemptions to report.
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.
Making a mandated report out of hours:
Mandated personss can now access Tusla's emergency out-of-hours social work service. If as a mandated person you have a concern about a child you can contact our out-of-hours social work service on 0818 776 315 between 6pm and 6am every night and between 9am and 5pm on Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays.
If you cannot contact Tusla and have an immediate concern about the safety of a child, please contact An Garda Síochána without delay.
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