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Child Welfare and Protection Policy

What We do

Child Protection is the term used to identify government policy and its services working to prevent children being neglected and abused and to intervene when they are. In Ireland, as with many countries, the welfare of children is paramount.   

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) operates in a global context and framework, provided primarily through its membership of the United Nations, the European Union and the Council of Europe. International human rights norms ratified by Ireland, in particular the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and The Hague Convention on Adoption, provide a framework for domestic policy and practice relating to children’s rights.  This global context includes the protection of children who enter Ireland from another country. 

DCYA is responsible for the development of a wide range of policy and service activity, both direct and indirect, for children and young people in Ireland, while the Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, is responsible for family support, protection and welfare of children and of ‘children in care’ under the Child Care Act, 1991.

Everyone must be alert to the possibility that children with whom they are in contact may be suffering from abuse or neglect. This responsibility is particularly relevant for professionals such as teachers, child care workers, health professionals and those working with adults with serious parenting difficulties. It is also an important responsibility for staff and people involved in sports clubs, community activities, youth clubs, religious/faith sector and other organisations catering for children.

Over the past number of years there has been significant attention to the delivery of Child Welfare and Protection Services in Ireland.  There has been a move towards developing family and community support initiatives in order to identify and address problems at an early stage within the context of the family, while at the same time ensuring high quality care services for any child who cannot remain at home.

The Department is responsible for Child welfare and protection policy including:

•    Adoption
•    Child Care Legislation
•    Children in Care

For further information on the child protection system in Ireland and the work carried out by the Department please see the links below:

Youth Homelessness
Separated Children Seeking Asylum
Article 42A of the Constiution
Implementation of the Ryan Report
The National Review Panel on serious incidents including deaths of children in care
The Independent Review Group on child deaths
The Special Rapporteur on Child Protection
Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children
HIQA National Standards for the Welfare and Protection of Children
Missing Children's Hotline


Concerned about a child’s welfare?

If you have any concerns about the welfare of a child you should contact Tusla, Child Protection & Welfare services/Social Worker for your area or An Garda Síochana.

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