National Child Safeguarding Programme
Early Learning and Care
New Child Safeguarding Statement
“Child Safeguarding Statement, Policy, and Procedures: Guidance for Early Learning and Care and School Aged Childcare Services in Ireland” is a resource for ELC and SAC services who are developing, reviewing or updating their Child Safeguarding Statement and associated procedures. This resource is designed to be used by each individual ELC and SAC service and should reflect the individuality of all services. This document was developed by the National Child Safeguarding Programme; Early Learning and Care, in conjunction with Tusla Children First Information and Advice Officers.
The National Child Safeguarding Committee; Early Learning and Care
The National Child Safeguarding Committee; Early Learning and Care was set up in 2012 following a number of developments in the Early Years Sector, including the establishment of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs in 2011 and the launch of the updated publication of Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children, also in 2011. The Children First National Guidance was fully revised and published in 2017 to include reference to the Children First Act 2015. The Committee was developed with the primary aim of addressing the implementation of Children First in the Early Years Sector.
The Committee is charged with coordinating the delivery of Child Protection Training nationally in a consistent approach. Thus a Sectoral Training Plan was developed under four headings: Training, Communication, Policy & Procedure & Quality Assurance.
Overview on training
The National Early Years Children First Programme has been in existence since 2014 and to date have delivered Always Children First Foundation Level Training to over 95% of Early Years Services nationally through a network of trainers placed in City and County Childcare Committees, Childminding Ireland and Comhar Naíonraí na Gaeltachta.
The programme is managed by a committee, chaired by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and has representation from many stakeholders including Tusla, Early Childhood Ireland and Barnardos. The programme was developed in conjunction with Tusla’s Children First Information and Advice Officers and is specific to the Early Learning and Care sector, including School Aged Childcare.
The programme was updated in late 2018 and delivery of this programme commenced in 2019. The updated programme outlines the legislative requirements of those working in the Early Learning and Care sector and outlines roles and responsibilities of all of those working with young children and their families.
The National Early Years Children First Programme comprises of a three tier training strategy as outlined below;
Completion of the Tusla ELearning Programme
Completion of the National Early Years Children First Foundation Level Programme
Completion of the National Early Years Children First DLP Programme (Coming in 2020)
It is recommended that all staff, volunteers and stakeholders in all Early Learning and Care settings, as part of their Child Safeguarding Training Strategy complete the Tusla ELearning Programme
Information for Parents
Parents should speak to the Manager in their child’s Early Learning and Care setting about their Child Safeguarding Statement and Child Safeguarding Policy and Procedures. Parents and stakeholders can request copies of these documents and answers to all questions and queries relating to Child Safeguarding and Child Protection and Welfare should be provided by Management of the setting.
Parent's Guide to Addressing Concerns in an Early Years Service
Information for 3rd Level Education Providers
The National Early Years Children First Committee have identified that The Always Children First Foundation Level Programme training would be beneficial for those tutoring or lecturing on QQI Early Learning and Care courses at all levels. The Committee are happy to support training of tutors and in particular tutors who are supporting students in placement in an effort to ensure that a consistent Safeguarding message is reaching students nationally. The Committee acknowledge that students can often feel anxious or nervous when Child Safeguarding issues arise on placement and in order to support this we want to make sure that students are as confident as possible about their role in keeping children safe.