The National Child Safeguarding Programme; Early Learning and Care is the only Tusla approved, Early Learning and Care sector specific Child Safeguarding training programme.
The National Child Safeguarding Committee; Early Learning and Care was set up in 2012 following a number of developments in the Early Years Sector, including the establishment of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs in 2011 and the launch of the updated publication of Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children, also in 2011. The Children First National Guidance was fully revised and published in 2017 to include reference to the Children First Act 2015. The Committee was developed with the primary aim of addressing the implementation of Children First in the Early Years Sector.
The Child Safeguarding Statement Template and accompanying Information Sheet for Early Learning and Care services was updated in October 2020.
This resource has been developed in conjunction with the Tusla Child Safeguarding Statement Compliance Unit and will help services to develop a strong, robust Child Safeguarding Statement that is individual and unique to their service. The template and accompanying information sheetbelow outlines the exact steps that services are required to follow to develop their Child Safeguarding Statement.
A Child Safeguarding Statement is a written statement that specifies the service being provided and the principles and procedures to be observed in order to ensure, as far as practicable, that a child availing of the service is safe from harm. Upon completion, the Child Safeguarding Statement must be shared with all staff members, displayed in a prominent place in the service and made available to parents and guardians, Tusla and members of the public upon request.
Further information can be found here:
Early Learning and Care (ELC) and School Aged Childcare (SAC) services must keep written records of all child protection and welfare concerns, including concerns that may not reach the threshold for reporting to Tusla. Services must have a system in place where all workers are aware of how to record all child safeguarding concerns and this should form part of the services’ Child Safeguarding Procedures. Concerns must be recorded in order to identify any potential patterns that may cause concern in relation to safeguarding children. In order to ensure that all relevant information is recorded and appropriate steps are taken, concerns should be recorded on a standardised form that all workers are familiar with.
ELC and SAC services must have a procedure in place which outlines what concerns are recorded, how these concerns are recorded, how they are stored and who has access to them. In order to support ELC and SAC services to do this, the National Child Safeguarding Programme have developed a sample ‘Recording Child Protection and Welfare Concerns Form’.
This form is contained in the National Child Safeguarding Programme’s new publication ‘Child Safeguarding Resource Document – Child Safeguarding Statement, Policy and Procedures; Guidance for Early Learning and Care and School Aged Childcare Services in Ireland’. This resource is available on www.childsafeguardingelc.ie/resources-publications/
There are a number of resources to assist early years services in implementing best practice in the area of safeguarding children and they can be accessed on the links below.
Tusla now require anyone making a child protection and welfare report to use the secure Web portal on Tusla website (unless this is not possible). Early Learning and Care Services should already be familiar with this Portal as it is the same Portal that is used to complete Early Years Registrations.
Mandated persons are people who have contact with children and families and who, because of their qualifications, training and/or employment role, are in a key position to help protect children from harm. All persons carrying on or running a registered pre-school service and all who are employed in them as childcare staff are Mandated Persons. Mandated Persons will have a legal obligation to report child protection concerns over a certain threshold to Tusla.
You are a mandated person if you are:
-A person carrying on a pre-school service within the meaning of Part VIIA of the Child Care Act 1991.
– A childcare staff member employed in a pre-school service within the meaning of Part VIIA of the Child Care Act 1991
Tusla have launched an e-learning programme, Introduction to Children First, an interactive course that provides introductory information on the new legal requirements and it recommended that all staff and providers of early years services complete it. It can be accessed at tusla.ie
Lynch, D & Burns, K (eds) (2012) Children’s Rights and Child Protection. Critical Times, Critical Issues in Ireland. Manchester University Press: Manchester