The Children First Bill, 2014, which will put elements of the Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children (2011) on a statutory footing was published by the Houses of the Oireachtas on 14 April 2014 (Children First Bill 2014).
Provisions of the Bill will ensure that concerns about children will be brought to the attention of the Agency without delay and improve the quality of reports made to the Agency and the quality of follow up on concerns. The new legislation will operate in tandem with the existing Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children .
Obligations on organisations
Organisations providing services to children and young people will now be required to undertake an assessment of any risks to a child while the child is availing of its services, and use this as the basis for developing a Child Safeguarding Statement. The purpose of the Statement is to identify how the organisation will manage any risks identified in the risk assessment. The Safeguarding Statement will also outline how staff/volunteers will be provided with information to identify abuse which children may experience outside the organisation, and what they should do with any concerns about child safety.
The revised Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children was published in July 2011. The Guidance sets out a number of key messages relating to the duty to protect children.
The Drumcondra Education Centre organises child protection training for Designated Liaison Persons in Post Primary schools.
The National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) runs training for those working in the youth sector on Child Protection.
All schools are required to develop an RSE policy through a consultative process involving parents, teachers, Boards of Management and, where appropriate, students.
RSE is part of the SPHE programme from junior infants to third year in Post-Primary School. Schools are still required to teach RSE at Senior Cycle, even though the SPHE curriculum for senior cycle is still in development.
The following document may be of assistance in developing an RSE policy in your school.
Guidelines for Developing an RSE Policy.
For more documentation on the delivery of RSE visit the RSE Support Service Website.
Regional Development Officers are available to assist schools with policy development. Contact the SPHE support service www.sphe.ie for details.