IMPACT welcomes new child protection guidelines

Thursday 21st July 2011

IMPACT has welcomed new national guidelines to protect children against abuse and neglect. The union represents social workers, social
care workers, family protection and welfare staff, and other workers who
regularly provide services to children.

The ‘Children First 2011’ guidelines were published by the Minister for Children, Frances Fitzgerald, last week.

IMPACT official Christina Carney also welcomed the minister’s comments that staff working in ‘frontline’ services with children did already “passionately employ best practice in child protection.”

The union also contacted the Children’s Ombudsman Emily Logan following her subsequent criticism of a 2002 ‘prioritisation’ agreement between the Eastern Regional Health Authority and IMPACT. Christina Carney said that, despite continuing concerns over the level of resources available to ensure that the Children First guidelines are successful, the union and its members were determined to maximise the delivery of available resources.

“IMPACT has actively engaged with the new National Director for Children and Families, Gordon Jeyes, and his team to manage changes which will ultimately improve the level of child protection and fully realise the protections afforded to children by the guidelines published last week. IMPACT has welcomed the proposed integration of services for families and children and is cooperating with Mr Jeyes to realise this,” she said.

The Children First Guidelines 2011 are to be put on a statutory basis, setting out specific protocols for HSE social workers, Gardaí and other frontline staff. The Minister outlined the statutory role of the new guidelines at the launch. “The days of voluntary compliance are over when it comes to child protection. The new legislation I am bringing forward will provide for a strong system of inspection and oversight and the need to provide demonstrable evidence that the guidance is being implemented correctly across all sectors,” she said.

Read the new guidelines HERE.

Read the minister’s speech HERE.