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  • The term “Children First” was originally used in relation to Children First: National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children, first published in 1999 and reviewed and updated on a number of occasions since then, most recently in 2017. Since the enactment of the Children First Act 2015, the term is now a generic term used to encompass the guidance, the legislation and the implementation of both. Children First relates to the recognition of child abuse and neglect, the reporting of same to Tusla – Child and Family Agency, and the best practice which organisations should adhere to keep children safe while availing of their services. Non statutory obligations for all persons coming into contact with children are set out in the Children First Guidance, and the Children First Act 2015 sets out additional statutory obligations for defined categories of persons and for organisations providing relevant services to children.

Society has a duty of care towards children and everyone should be alert to the possibility that children with whom they are in contact may be being abused or be at risk of abuse.  You can examine Children First from your perspective by clicking on an option below.

What is a 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 should set out any potential risk of “harm” to a child that you have identified in your risk assessment, and procedures in place to reduce the identified risks, as specified in section 11 (3) of the Children First Act 2015.

The Child Safeguarding Statement should provide an overview of the measures that your organisation has in place to ensure that children are protected from harm. It may also refer to more detailed policies which can be made available on request.

Services in operation prior to the commencement of Section 11 of the Children First Act 2015 in December 2017 were required to, not later than 3 months from that date, have a Child Safeguarding Statement in place. Where a service proposes to operate as a provider of a relevant service, they shall within 3 months from the date on which they commence, have a Child Safeguarding Statement in place.

For more on this and to view a video from Tusla, please click here

11.02.22 Recording Concerns Form and Info Blast

As you are aware, the Child Safeguarding Resource Document – Child Safeguarding Statement, Policy and Procedures; Guidance for Early Learning and Care and School Aged Childcare Services in Ireland, contains the Recording Concerns Form, which is a standardised form that can be used in ELC and SAC services to record child safeguarding concerns.

In order to support services to use this form, a Recording Concern Form Info Blast has been developed which can be accessed at the links below, along with the Recording Concerns Form.

You will find these on the National Child Safeguarding Programme website and in particular the

Info Blast Section of the website:

Resources’ section of the website:

Also, for your information, the Child Safeguarding Resource Document – Child Safeguarding Statement, Policy and Procedures; Guidance for Early Learning and Care and School Aged Childcare Services in Ireland has been replaced on the website with a PDF version, allowing users to use the ‘ctrl search’ function

14.04.21 Participation Network

The Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman TD, today launched the ‘National Framework for Children and Young People’s Participation in Decision-Making’. 

The Participation Framework supports departments, agencies and organisations to improve their practice in listening to children and young people and giving them a voice in decision-making. It is underpinned by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Developed by Hub na nÓg in association with Professor Laura Lundy, Queen’s University, the Participation Framework provides guidance and checklists for decision-makers on the steps to take in giving children and young people a meaningful voice in decision-making. The Framework has been developed in collaboration with policy makers at national and local level, teachers from early years to post-primary, gardaí, social workers, healthcare workers, arts professionals and others.

The Lundy Model is a key part of the National Child Safeguarding Programme’s foundation level training. This new ‘everyday spaces’ checklist is an additional support for supporting participation (Child Safeguarding ELC).

08.10.20 New National Child Safeguarding Porgramme Website

The new look National Child Safeguarding Programme; Early Learning and Care launched its website Thursday 8th October, 2020.

The website will be a one stop shop for all information, supports and resources for Early Learning and Care Services, Practitioners, Parents, Students and all other stakeholders

The website is

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18.08.20 Updates on Always Children First Foundation Training

Due to current Public Health advice, the Early Years specific Always Children First Foundation Level training is on hold.  We understand that there are many Early Learning and Care services that require training as certs are out of date, however in order to keep staff, children, families and communities safe we have taken this decision.  All staff, whether currently working or returning to work in the coming weeks are asked to complete the Tusla ELearning Programme prior to welcoming children back into their services.  The programme can be found here

Further to this, there is a short revision presentation available for all staff on the First 5 CPD page –

Services can also refer to the Info Blasts that were circulated by trainers over the past couple of months. (scroll to bottom of this page)

Finally all services are asked to ensure that all staff are aware of their organisation’s Child Safeguarding Policy and Procedures and are familiar with their own role and responsibilities within the organisation should Child Protection or Welfare concerns arise. 

Further information on Children First can be found on the Tusla website –

30.07.20 Updated Child Safeguarding Statement ELC Template

The National Early Years Children First Programme, in conjunction with Tusla, have updated the Early Learning and Care, Child Safeguarding Statement Template and Information Sheet.

Early Learning and Care services are encouraged to read the information sheet prior to updating their Child Safeguarding Statement.

The Template has been updated in line with all relevant Legislation and Policy and has been approved, as a template, by the Child Safeguarding Statement Compliance Unit (CSSCU).

It is imperative that services follow all instructions on the Template and that they ensure that the risks that are identified and the policies that are named to mitigate risks are specific to their service.

This Template has been taken and updated from the publication ‘Developing a Child Safeguarding Statement; A Guide for Early Years Services in Ireland’.  This document is also currently under review and we hope to publish the updated version in the coming months.

As always ELC services can refer to the relevant Tusla publications for support which can be found at the following links:

16.07.20 E Learning now in English and Irish

The Tusla ELearning Programme is available in both English and Irish.

Both versions are available through the usual ELearning link –

And once participants click in to start the programme, they can select language through the link in the top right hand corner, ‘Select Language/Roghnaigh Teanga’.

E Learning

26.06.20 Children First Leaflets for Parents

The National Early Years Children First Committee have developed an information leaflet for parents.  The purpose of the leaflet is to outline what parents can expect in relation to Child Safeguarding from Early Learning and Care services. To access these leaflets, please click on the images below, there is an English and Irish version. 

Parents Leaflet (English)
Parents Leaflet (Irish)

23.06.20 Revision Presentation

The National Early Years Children First Committee have put together a 30 minute, online, revision presentation for Early Learning and Care Practitioners that are returning to settings.  

The purpose of this  presentation is to refresh information for Early Learning and Care Practitioners on Children First and their role and responsibilities in relation to identifying and reporting Child Protection and Welfare concerns using appropriate procedures within their own organization and Tusla. 

This programme should be preceded by completing the Tusla ELearning Programme.  

This session is designed as a revision of existing information and should not replace completion of the Tusla ELearning Programme and attendance at the Always Children First Foundation level programme.   This session is suitable for all members of staff in Early Learning and Care settings.

This session can be accessed through the link below.


Please find below weekly ‘Children First Information Documents’.  The topic will vary from week to week and there will be links within each document with further information for your services.

All these Info Blasts are also available in Irish at the following