What can I expect if there is a concern about my child?
If there is a concern about your child and the school Designated Liaison Person (DLP) is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for the suspicion or concern he/she shall report the matter to the TUSLA Child and Family Agency immediately.
When such a report is being made to the HSE, the DLP will also inform you (as the child’s parent/guardian) unless doing so is likely to endanger the child or to place the child at further risk. The DLP will also inform the Board of Management.
When the TUSLA Child and Family Agency receive a referral of a child protection / welfare concern, you will be contacted by a social worker to tell you about the referral and to ask you for your help to carry out an assessment of the concern. The social worker will aim to involve you in the assessment at all times. A social worker will always examine the needs of a child alongside your needs and those of other members of the family.
I work in a school, why did the Department report me as the subject of a Child Protection Concern?
The concern referred by the Department to the school authorities (and simultaneously notified to TUSLA) is not a concern invoked by the Department. It is most likely a child protection concern that a person reported to the Department and which the Department must pass on, without judgment, to the school authorities and TUSLA, in accordance with Children First. The school will be made aware of who brought the concern to the attention of the Department (unless the source of the concern asks for anonymity or is anonymous).
While the primary concern at all times must be the welfare and protection of children, in the interest of natural justice, the Department is alert to the right of every person to his/her good name. A child protection concern reported to the Department may be false or malicious, may be about the wrong person or may be a misunderstanding. Therefore, Department staff do not make any judgement on the substance or truth of such concerns.
In passing on the concern to the school, the Department will request the school to:
- Deal with the child protection concern in accordance with the procedures set out in the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools.
- Follow up with the complainant, as appropriate;
- Alert the TUSLA Child and Family Agency that it has received the concern and that it is dealing with it in accordance with the agreed procedures for schools and that it will keep the HSE apprised of its enquiry.
What do I do if there is a child protection concern referred to TUSLA which has been made about me?
If you are the subject of a child protection concern, you have a right to discuss this concern with the TUSLA social worker who is assessing the concern. It is always better to be open and cooperative so as to assist any assessment that the social worker is undertaking and to avoid misunderstanding. This will allow the social worker the best opportunity to determine whether there is an ongoing risk to the child.
What are my rights if a false child protection concern has been reported about me?
Where it can be proven that a person knowingly made a false report they are liable to be prosecuted under the Protections for Persons Reporting Child Abuse Act 1998.
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