Child Protection and Welfare

The welfare of young people in state and community organisations has become a priority in recent years. It is now a requirement for all organisations in the Republic of Ireland that work with children and young people to have a Child Safeguarding Statement in place along with a number of required policies and appropriate training for staff.

Below are a selection of publications relating to child welfare policy. Many of them appear very daunting and legalistic when first using them. The best advice is to avail of Keeping Safe training supplied by the HSE. This training works through the various potential issues that can arise when dealing with young people and creating a good environment for staff and young people. Its greatest benefit is that it helps people realise that putting good policies and practice in place is nothing to be afraid of. You can access a list of contacts for information,  advice and Keeping Safe training here. (ROI Only)

Useful Publications in the area:

Children First National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2017

Children First, National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children was launched on October 2nd 2017. This Guidance is a primary reference for all citizens to report concerns and includes the new legislative obligations. It provides clarity between the legislation and the existing non-statutory obligations which will continue to operate for all sectors of society.

Children First Guidance describes the four main types of abuse and sets out the steps which should be taken to ensure that the child or young person is protected from harm. It has been updated to include new information about the Children First Act 2015 and it includes specific information for the professionals and organisations that now have legal obligations to keep children safe. In January 2019 the Children First Guidance was amended by way of an addendum to ensure that online safety is specifically accounted for in child safeguarding statements, as required under the Children First Act.

The Guidance also outlines the roles of the main statutory bodies involved in child welfare and protection: Tusla – Child and Family Agency, and An Garda Síochána. It contains details of how to report a concern about a child and what happens once the report is received by Tusla.

Link to Universal eLearning here.

Find a range of support documents from Tusla at

In addition to this, in 2021 the National Youth Council of Ireland has released Children First: A Guide to the Implementation of Children First in the Youth Work Sector for free download. The publication is a guidance document that has been written for those who are working and volunteering in the youth work sector.

The guidance will assist you with identifying and meeting your organisational and individual responsibilities in relation to child safeguarding and protection and supporting best practice in child safeguarding for the youth work sector. Download here.

IAYO Child Safeguarding Statement and Policy

IAYO has produced a Child Safeguarding Statement that has been approved by the Tusla Child Safeguarding Statement Compliance Unit along with a comprehensive Child Safeguarding Policy and an Internet Teaching Safeguarding Statement. These policies can be viewed on the IAYO Child Protection and Welfare page and editable copies can be obtained by contacting the IAYO office.

Garda Vetting Information Pack

The linked guide, from the National Youth Council of Ireland, describes the process of Garda vetting. IAYO members can access the NYCI consortium by contacting the IAYO office. Read more information here.

Child Protection Policy and Procedures Sample Information

These two documents are samples of information on child welfare policies for provision to parents and children.

For Parents and Guardians

For Children

Protecting our Children and Young People

This new resource from the National Youth Council of Ireland  is aimed at youth clubs, services and organisations that are designing their child protection policy for the first time or reviewing their existing child protection policy. Download it here.

Code of Good Practice | Child Protection for The Youth Work Sector

This guide was published by the Youth Affairs Section of the Department of Education and Science (The Youth Affairs section is now under the Department of Health and Children). Download the guide here.

Our Duty to Care

Published by the Department of Health and Children (HSE). This publication contains an introduction to best practice in child welfare and protection and deals with policies and procedures for dealing with child abuse reporting.  Hard copies are usually distributed to participants in Keeping Safe courses. It can be downloaded as a pdf here.

Guidelines for taking and using images of  children and young people in the arts sector

Published by The Arts Council. Contact The Arts Council on 01 618 0200 for hard copies. Download here.

Solo Practitioner code of practice for working with children and young people

Published by The Arts Council. Contact The Arts Council on 01 618 0200 for hard copies. Download here.

Go Happy Come Back Safely

A guide to touring with youth theatre groups published by the National Association for Youth Drama. Download here.

Internet Safety & Social Networking

Youth Work Ireland have produced two guides for internet usage for young people and those working with them. These are useful for those that engage with young people through media such as Bebo and Facebook.

Safe Social Networking: Guidelines for those working with young people

Safe Surfing: Guidelines for safe Internet use for young people and those who work with them

Safety Online: Webwise

Let’s Beat Bullying

This resource, developed by the National Youth Council of Ireland for the youth work sector, is practical, informative and comprehensive in relation to the issue of bullying and offers a range of options in relation to the prevention of bullying and the development of an anti-bullying environment. The resource outlines a variety of responses which may be used to intervene in situations involving bullying. It also provides a framework and process for devising an anti-bullying policy. Download a copy here.

The Anti-Bullying Centre

The Anti-Bullying Center is a resource unit for organisations and individuals alike with reference libraries, helplines and a drop-in centre. Find out more at

If you would like to access IAYO’s Child Protection & Welfare documentation, please see here.