04 November, 2021 | Posted by Michelle Hogan

Portobello Institute Supporting Children First Awareness Week

Portobello Institute Supporting Children First Awareness Week

Everyone has a responsibility to keep children as safe as possible.

An awareness campaign to keep children and young people safe in communities across the country aims to inform organisations, individuals working with children and the public where to turn if they believe a child or young person is at risk. 

National Children First Awareness Week runs from the 1st to the 7th of November.

The aim of the week is to raise awareness of Children First and remind wider society, including organisations working with children and young people, of our collective responsibility to keep them safe in our communities. 

It has been established by the DCEDIY and was launched by the Minister for Children Roderic O'Gorman TD on November 1st. 

The new initiative promoting child safeguarding is supported by Government departments, gardaí, the HSE and Tusla.

Informational Video From Tusla here:


What is Children First?  

Children First promotes the protection of children from abuse and neglect. It sets out how to report concerns about a child to Tusla social work departments, and what organisations need to do to keep children safe. 

Society has a duty of care towards children, and everyone should be alert to the possibility that children they are in contact with may be abused or at risk of abuse or neglect.   

All organisations working with children and young people should develop and put in place specific policies and procedures to create a safe environment. Most organisations will also have specific legal obligations, including a requirement to have a Child Safeguarding Statement in place. 

Children First - Public Health Nurse 


Children First - Social Worker


Children First - An Garda Síochána


Children First Legislation and Guidance 

The Children First Act 2015 places a number of statutory obligations on certain people (for example, teachers, childcare professionals, nurses, or physiotherapists) and on particular organisations providing services to children and young people. 

Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children sets out non-statutory best practice for all persons coming into contact with children and young people. It also describes the legal obligations under the Children First Act and who they attach to. 

More information on Children First Legislation and Guidance is available here. 

Individuals working alone with children and young people 

Many solo practitioners provide valuable services to children either individually or working in partnership with another organisation. 

If you are an adult working on your own providing a service to children and young people, you should ensure that your procedures follow best practice outlined in Children First National Guidance. 

More information on safeguarding best practice policies and procedures is available here.

Read more in our Early Years Knowledge Zone here.


Mandated Persons

Under the Children First Act 2015, certain people who work with children have additional legal obligations. These are known as Mandated Persons. It is your responsibility to determine if you are a mandated person in your current role. 

These mandated persons must also assist Tusla, on request, in its assessment of child protection concerns about children who have been the subject of a mandated report. 

Mandated persons are people who have contact with children and/or families who, by virtue of their qualifications, training and experience, are in a key position to help protect children from harm. Mandated persons include key professionals working with children in the education, health, justice, youth and childcare sectors. Certain professionals who may not work directly with children, such as those in adult counselling or psychiatry, are also mandated persons. The list also includes registered foster carers (with specific support available here) and members of the clergy or pastoral  care workers of a church or other religious community. The Children First Act 2015, Schedule 2, provides a full list of people who are classified as mandated persons. 

Everyone has a responsibility to keep children as safe as possible. If you are concerned that a child or young person may have been, is being, or is at risk of being abused or neglected, you should contact Tusla social work department. 

More information on how to make a report to Tusla is available here. 

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