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Children First Guidance


Children First Guidance

Children First: National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children was first published in 1999 and was fully revised and updated in 2017. The key messages of the guidance have remained unchanged. The guidance seeks to assist people to recognise where a child is being abused or neglected, and to report reasonable concerns about abuse or neglect to Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. The guidance also assists organisations working with children with information about best practice in child safeguarding.

The most recent version of the Children First Guidance in 2017 also incorporates information on the Children First Act 2015 and in particular, sets out the specific child protection statutory obligations imposed on certain categories of persons and organisations under that Act. 

In January 2019 the Guidance was amended by way of an addendum to ensure that online safety is specifically accounted for in child safeguarding statements.

Children First Guidance 2017;

Children First Act 2015.

Children First Guidance Addendum 2019

For more information on specific aspects of the Guidance and of the Children First Act 2015 please refer to the FAQs section.


Children First Launch - Press Statements and Speeches

Press Release - Date announced by Minister for the commencement of all remaining provisions of the Children First Act 2015 - 02.10.17

Minister's speech at Launch of the revised Children First National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children [2017] - 02.10.17

Press Release - Online safety risks must be assessed by Organisations working with children and young people
Minister Zappone Minister publishes Addendum to Children First Guidance 18.01.19


Child Protection and Welfare Practice Handbook

The Child Protection and Welfare Handbook was launched in 2011, to coincide with the launch of the revised Children First Guidance in that year. The handbook sets out detailed practice for Tusla social workers in managing child welfare and protection referrals, and is intended to support the work of social workers and provide an infomration resource for relevant practitioners dealing with child welfare and protection cases.

Child Protection and Welfare Practice Handbook