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Childcareearly years child protection programme

Commencement of Remaining Provisions of the Children First Act 2015

early years child protection programme logo

The remaining provisions of the Children First Act 2015 will commence on 11th December 2017 announced on 2nd October 2017 by Minister Katherine Zappone T.D., Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.

The Act will impose statutory obligations on key professionals to report child protection concerns over a certain threshold to Tusla and on providers of relevant services to children to carry out a comprehensive risk assessment of their services and develop a Child Safeguarding Statement.

The Act includes provisions to:

  • Introduce mandatory reporting of child abuse
  • Place a legal obligation on organisations providing services to children to prepare and publish a Child Safeguarding Statement.

Early Years Services and the Children First Act2015

  • All persons carrying on or running a registered early years services and all who are employed in them as childcare staff are Mandated Persons under the Act and will acquire new legal obligations on December 11th 2017.
  • Registered early years services who employ at least one other person will have a legal obligation to publish a Child Safeguarding Statement. Services will have 3 months from that date to comply with their obligations in relation to publishing a Child Safeguarding Statement.

Revised Children First Guidance

  • The revised Children First Guidance has been published and it includes the provisions of the Children First Act 2015 it will commence operation on December 11th 2017.
  • Early years services will be provided with a copy of the new guidance over the coming months. The Guidance can be downloaded here: http://www.tusla.ie/children-first/children-first-2017/
Key Dates Information
December 11th 2017
  • Mandated Persons acquire new legal obligations to report child abuse
  • Relevant services are required to have a Child Safeguarding Statement
December 11th 2017
  • Revised Children First Guide & other support documentation comes into operation.
March 11th 2018
  • Existing relevant services have until 11th March 2018 to publish their Child Safeguarding Statement.

Further information

The Early Years Child Protection programme was established to support the implementation of Children First in the early years sector through delivery of a national child protection training plan and child protection policy supports. The Programme is currently updating its materials and developing support documentation. Regional information sessions will be held in partnership with Tusla on the new legal obligations and will be open to all early years services.

In the meantime, services are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the new Children First Guidance and other support documents published by Tusla, they include a Child Protection Reporter's guide and a Guide to developing and Child Safe Guarding Statement all of which can be accessed here: http://www.tusla.ie/children-first/children-first-2017/.

Tusla - Child and Family Agency have launched a suite of Children First information booklets and an accompanying e-learning programme. The booklets support the introduction of the revised Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children and commencement of remaining provisions of the Children First Act 2015. More information can be found here: http://www.tusla.ie/news/tusla-launches-children-first-information-booklets-and-e-learning-programme
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