Child Protection

The Children First Guidance, which launched in 2011, is the National Guidance that promotes the protection of children from abuse and neglect. It states what organisations need to do to keep children safe, and what different bodies, and the general public  should do if they are  concerned about a child’s safety and welfare. The Guidance sets out specific protocols for HSE social workers, Gardaí and other front line staff in dealing with suspected abuse and neglect.

Consistent with the principles of Children First, every organisation, both public and private, that is providing services for children or that is in regular direct contact with children should:

  1. Ensure best practice in the recruitment of volunteers, which includes Garda vetting, taking up of references, good HR practices in interviewing, induction training, probation and ongoing supervision and management;
  2. Ensure that staff members or volunteers are aware of how to recognise signs of child abuse or neglect;
  3. Develop guidance procedures for staff and/or volunteers who may have reasonable grounds for concern about the safety of children involved with the organisation. These procedures should not deviate from the current Children First: National Guidance, but may offer further elaboration to ensure local relevance and applicability.
  4. Identify a designated person to act as a liaison with outside agencies and a resource person to any staff member or volunteer who has child protection concerns. The designated person is responsible for reporting  allegations or suspicions of child abuse to the HSE Children and Family Services or to An Garda Síochána

Click on the link below to download a copy of the Children First Guidelines:



Recommended reading:

 Child Protection and Welfare Practice Handbook

 Our Duty to Care The principles of good practice for the protection of chidlren & young people


Child Protection and the Preschool Regulations:


Childcare Providers are obliged under Regulation 9 of the Child Care (Pre-school Services) Regulations 2006 to have a Child Protection Policy based on Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children in operation.


Clear written guidelines on identifying and reporting child abuse should be developed by the childcare service.

For information on Child Protection training to become a designated child protection officer, or for Child Protection Awareness training for staff, pleasecontact Dublin City Childcare Committee 

Garda vetting

Garda Vetting is a crucial aspect of the recruitment and selection process for childcare providers to ensure that they are taking all reasonable steps to ensure that only suitable persons are recruited to work within their service. Garda vetting is also an essential requirement for all childcare providers, practitioners and H.S.E. notified childminders for all their staff, students and volunteers, under the Child Care (Pre-school Services) Regulations 2006. Every service must have evidence of their Garda Vetting on the premises, for example, an original certificate confirming the completion of the Garda Vetting process.

Two of the requirements within the regulations are:

  1. Any person carrying on a pre-school service is required to ensure appropriate vetting of all staff, students and volunteers who have access to a child
  2. Such vetting procedures shall be carried out prior to any person being appointed or assigned or being allowed access to a child in the pre-school service

This should be done:

  1. By reviewing past employer references in particular the most recent employer reference in respect of all staff
  2. By referring to references from reputable sources in respect of all students and volunteers
  3. By acquiring Garda vetting from An Garda Síochána when An Garda Síochána have set down procedures to make such vetting available
  4. In circumstances where Garda vetting is not available for staff, students and volunteers who have lived outside the jurisdiction, by ensuring that these persons provide the necessary police vetting from other public authorities.


It is good practice that all pre-school services have management, recruitment and training policies, including a policy regarding vetting and possible outcomes for both new and existing employees, students and volunteers.

It’s important to remember that Garda Vetting is only one step in protecting the safety and welfare of the children in your care. Having a written Child Protection Policy and Procedures and ensuring parents are aware of such procedures is another aspect, as is training in the Children First: Child Protection programme. Employers should also obtain and validate or check at least two written references prior to the final recruitment stage.

  1. Good practice would also suggest that services have existing staff vetted every three years.



Organisations that carry out the Garda Vetting process for childcare providers are:

Barnardos Vetting Service
The Bowling Green
White Street
Phone: 021 4547060









Early Childhood Ireland (for members of Early Childhood Ireland only)

Hainault House
Belgard Square
Dublin 24

Phone: 01 4057100

Website: Early Childhood Ireland


Garda vetting for Childminders

It is recommended that all childminders, childminder’s assistants and any person over the age of 18 years in the childminder’s home, apply for Garda Vetting.

Childminders can apply for Garda Vetting through Early Childhood Ireland if they are members, or Barnardos (contact details above). Childminders notified to the HSE are required to be vetted under the Child Care (Pre-school Services) Regulations 2006.

By availing of the vetting system, childminders can offer reassurance to parents that they are suitable to provide personal care and attention to their child in the unsupervised environment of the family home. 

Dublin City Childcare Committee
Ocean House
Arran Quay
Dublin 7


Tel. 01 8733696
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Mob.:  085 8715097
Fax:    01 873 4488

CRO No.: 358269



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