The aim of Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children is to promote the safety and wellbeing of children. The Guidance sets out particular statutory responsibility of the HSE Children and Family Services and An Garda Síochána when they are alerted to concerns about the safety and welfare of children. The Guidance sets out definitions and recognition of child abuse, the basics for reporting concerns and the standard reporting procedure. It also outlines how the HSE and other agencies should proceed in dealing with reported concerns.
This Guidance forms the basis for the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools.
The government proposes to put Children First on a statutory footing through the Children First Bill, which is currently in preparation. The INTO made a submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children in July 2012 and a copy of the submission can be viewed below.