Children First Act 2015 and Children First National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2017
On 11 December 2017 the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs commenced the remaining provisions of the Children First Act, 2015. The Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2017 published on 2 October 2017 also became operational on 11 December 2017.
The Children First Act, 2015 provides for a number of key child protection measures that are relevant to schools, as follows:
- A requirement on organisations provided services to children, which includes all schools, to keep children safe and to produce a Child Safeguarding Statement;
- A requirement on defined categories of persons (mandated persons), which includes registered teachers, to report child protection concerns over a defined threshold to the Child and Family Agency (Tusla);
- A requirement on mandated persons which includes registered teachers, to assist Tusla in the assessment of a child protection risk, if so requested to do so by Tusla.
The Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools 2017 give direction and guidance to school authorities and to school personnel in relation to meeting the statutory obligations under the Children First Act, 2015 and in the continued implementation within the school setting of the best practice guidance set out in the updated Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2017.