REMINDER: All Childcare Services must have their Child Safeguarding Statement completed and displayed in their service by 11th March 2018.  Please find below resources which have been developed for early years services on developing a Child Safeguarding Statement

Mandatory Reporting and Child Safeguarding Statements – New Requirements

There are new legal obligations for early years service providers in the area of child protection and welfare.  This article looks at what they are and what they mean for early years services.

Mandatory reporting of child abuse concerns and the requirement to publish a Child Safeguarding Statement are about to become law.  From December 11, 2017, when the Children First Act 2015 is fully commenced, there will be new legal requirements in the area of child protection for professionals and services with a key role in the lives of children and families.  Early Years services and the people who work in them will have new legal obligations under the act.

 

On December 11, 2017 -Mandated Persons acquire new legal obligations to report
child abuse concerns
– Relevant services are required to have a Child Safeguarding
Statement – but have 3 months to comply- Revised Children First Guidance & other support documentation
comes into operation.
On March 11, 2018  

-Relevant services have until this date to publish their
Child Safeguarding Statement

 

Mandated Persons

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

 

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.   It includes a risk assessment, measures to manage any risks and a number of mandatory safeguarding policies and procedures.  Early years services (including preschools and school age 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 December 11, 2017 to comply.

If you are a pre-school or a school-age service who employs one or more persons you are legally required to have a Child Safeguarding Statement.

New Children First National Guidance

Children First National Guidance for the Protection & Welfare of Children has been updated to include these new provisions and contains important information for professionals working with children and organisations providing services to children.  Everyone working in an early years service should read and be familiar with the new Guidance document.  All early years services will be provided with a copy over the coming weeks.

The Children First Guidance, the e-learning course and a number of other useful resources can be found at www.tusla.ie

These new requirements are a further, welcome step towards keeping children safe from harm by ensuring that all child protection concerns are passed to Tusla and that organisations providing services to children have taken all the measures necessary to protect the children in their care.

 

More information

  • The Early Years Child Protection Programme will run regional briefing sessions in early 2018 on the new requirements.

 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

  • Children First Guidance and a number of other useful resources can be found at tusla.ie

 

Mandatory Reporting of Child Protection Concerns – Commenced on  December 11th, 2017

5 Steps to Prepare for the Children First Act, 2015
Step 1

 

E-Learning

>    Take the Tusla  e-learning module, Introduction to Children First, which provides introductory information about the new legal requirements.

>    Everyone working or involved in an early years service should complete the course including staff, board members and volunteers.

>    It is recommended that in addition to completing the e-learning module a minimum of 2 people in each service attend Always Children First Child Protection Training. Training will be available through your local Childcare Committee from March, 2018.

Step 2.

 

Download and Read

>    Children First Guidance 2017

 

>    A Guide for Reporting Child Protection and Welfare Concerns.

Step. 3

 

Inform staff

>    If you are a chairperson or service manager, make sure all staff and team members have been informed about the new legal obligations before December 11th, 2017.
Step 4.

 

Develop a Child Safeguarding Statement

>    Start Developing your Child Safeguarding Statement – you have until March 11th, 2018. – Download Template here: Child Safeguarding Statement Template for Early Years Jan 2018

>    Read the Guidance on developing a Child Safe Guarding Statement: Download here.

Step 5

 

Attend a Briefing Session

>    Look out for our Briefing Sessions on the Children First Act, 2015 for early years services in early 2018.

 

New Way of Delivering Child Protection Training for Early Years Settings

From January 2014, child protection training for the Early Years sector will be delivered by the Childcare Committees and a number of Voluntary Childcare Organisations.

  • The first level of training to be offered is Child Protection & Welfare: Basic Level. This is an HSE accredited module that has been developed for the Early Years sector.
  • The HSE will no longer provide training on child protection to the sector and the new programme replaces ‘Keeping Children Safe’
  • Over 3 years training will be offered to all Early Years Workers.
  • Training will be free as far as possible.
  • Only Trainers accredited to the new programme can deliver the HSE module.
  • Training for Designated Liaison Persons will be rolled out at a later date

Commencement of Remaining Provisions of the Children First Act 2015

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

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 Act, 2015

  • All persons carrying on or running a registered early years service and all who are employed in them as childcare staff are Mandated Persons under the Act and will acquire new legal obligations on Dec 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 come into 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 from www.tusla.ie/children-first/children-first-2017/

Key Dates

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 this date to publish their Child Safeguarding Statement.

More 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 from www.tusla.ie/children-first/children-first-2017/

Laois County Childcare Safeguarding Statement is available to download here: LCCC Child Safeguarding Statement.docx

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