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Children First Implementation

Children First implementation relates to the implementation of the Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children, and of the Children First Act 2015.

The Guidance has been in place since 1999, and has been in operation in sectors dealing with children since that time, including schools, hospitals, sporting organisations, child care settings and youth work. The enactment of the Children First Act 2015, which puts elements of the Guidance on a statutory footing, has brought a renewed focus to supporting individuals and organisations to meet their statutory and non statutory Children First obligations.


Interdepartmental Cooperation

Non-Statutory Children First Interdepartmental Group

A Children First Inter-Departmental Group was established in 2011 to promote the importance of Children First compliance across those Departments and to ensure a consistent approach was adopted. Membership of the Group included those Departments who delivered significant services to children. Each Department represented on the Group prepared a Children First Sectoral Implementation Plan.  The Government approved the first set of Sectoral Plans on 16 July 2013. These Implementation Plans were designed to be high level documents setting out implementation requirements for the parent Department and for agencies under its aegis which have contact with children and young people.  The Plans set out the mechanisms in place, or to be put in place, to support the continued implementation of Children First Guidance at sectoral level.  This Group has been replaced by the statutory Children First Interdepartmental Implementation Group.

Children First Sectoral Implementation Plans can be found by clicking on the links below:


Department of Children and Youth Affairs
Department of Education and Skills
Department of Justice and Equality
Dept of Social Protection
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
Department of Health


Children First Interdepartmental Implementation Group (CFIDIG)

A significant provision in the Children First Act 2015 (Sections 20-26) is the establishment of the CFIDIG.  Membership of the CFIDIG includes all Government Departments, Tusla, the HSE and An Garda Síochána.  This reflects the importance that is being attached by all Departments, sectors, agencies and services in fully complying with the ethos of Children First, and their specific statutory and non-statutory responsibilities.

The CFIDIG will be required to keep under review the implementation across the Public Sector of the Children First legislation and the Guidance, and to report on an annual basis to the Minister.  The Children First Act requires every Department to prepare a Sectoral Implementation Plan as soon as may be after commencement of Section 27 of the Act.

While Departments and Agencies are responsible for child protection issues arising in their own sphere of responsibility, the CFIDIG provides a forum at which child safeguarding issues with a cross-Departmental focus can be raised as required.

The First Annual Report of the Group can be found below.

Children First Interdepartmental Implementation Group Annual Report 2016


Information and training resources to support Children First implementation

The Minister has committed to full commencement of the remaining provisions of the Act on 11th December 2017. In preparation for this, the Department and Tusla have developed a suite of resources to support the full implementation of the Act. This includes the revision of the Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children [2017] and the Tusla resources below that can be accessed on the Tusla website.

a) Guide for reporters;

b) Mandated assisting protocol

c) Guide to developing a Child Safeguarding Statement.

In addition, Tusla has developed a comprehensive Children First e-learning module which is universally available, free of charge and sets out the basic information required to recognise and report child welfare and protection concerns.

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