Child Protection & Garda Vetting

Child Protection

Child Protection is about promoting the welfare of children who avail of our services and creating a safe environment for both staff/volunteers and young people, where trust and willingness to listen to the young person is foremost. It is the policy of Youth Work Ireland and our Member Youth Services to safeguard the welfare of all children and young people in our services by protecting them from all forms of abuse. We are committed to providing a safe space for children and young people to have fun.

The DCEDIY published Children First: National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children in 2017. These guidelines are intended to assist people in identifying and reporting child abuse and to ensure best practice in child protection in statutory and voluntary agencies. These guidelines are based on the Children First Act 2015

Child Safeguarding Statement, 2021

Youth Work Ireland’s has developed a Safeguarding Statement in line with the Children’s First Act and the new national guidelines. We recognise that the implementation of safeguarding and child protection is an ongoing process. We are committee to the implementation of this safe guarding statement and the procedures that support our intention to keep young people and children safe from harm while availing of our services.

This Child Safeguarding Statement will be reviewed in Quarter 2, 2023, or earlier if there has been a material change in any matter to which this statement refers. 

We will endeavour to safeguard children by:
  • Following the principles of best practice, thus ensuring the welfare of the child is paramount in decisions, activities and programmes involving them.
  • Ensuring all volunteers and staff are Garda vetted.
  • Adhering to the procedures set out for the recruitment and selection of staff and volunteers.
  • Providing effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support, and training.
  • Adopting child protection guidelines through a code of behaviour for staff and volunteers.
  • Sharing information about child protection and good practice with children, parents/guardians, staff and volunteers.
  • Sharing information with relevant agencies on a need to know basis.
  • Delivering approprate training to staff and volunteers in accordance with the policy of the organisation.

Garda Vetting

Youth Work Ireland is a registered organisation with the Garda Central Vetting Unit. We vet approximately 3,500 applications a year on behalf of our Member Youth Services.

The National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 came into effect in 2016 and it is now mandatory for persons working with children or vulnerable adults to be vetted by the Gardaí. The Act also provides for the use of “soft” information in regard to vetting. This is information other than criminal convictions where such information leads to a bona-fide belief that a person poses a threat to children or vulnerable persons. Under the Act the Garda Central Vetting Unit is the National Vetting Bureau and the vetting procedures are in place on a statutory basis.

Types of employees vetted
The types of work or activities where people working with children and vulnerable adult will require vetting include:
  • Childcare services 
  • Schools
  • Hospitals and health services
  • Residential services or accommodation for children or vulnerable persons
  • Treatment, therapy or counselling services for children or vulnerable persons
  • Provision of leisure, sporting or physical activities to children or vulnerable persons
  • Promotion of religious beliefs

Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2017

Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2017 were launched on October 2nd, 2017. The remaining provisions of the Children First Act also commenced in December 2017. These include mandatory reporting of child abuse and a legal obligation on organisations providing services to children to prepare and publish a Child Safeguarding Statement. The obligations on mandated reporters will take effect immediately on the date of commencement (11th of Dec), while organisations will have three months from that date to comply with their obligations in relation to publishing a Child Safeguarding Statement.