Child Protection and Welfare Practice Handbook

The Minister for Children has launched the HSE’s Child Protection and
Welfare Handbook developed by the National Office for Children and
Family Services, HSE. The Handbook, which is based on the protocols
as set out in Children First Guidance 2011 and the collective wisdom
and best practice of experts and front line staff, will support the
vital work of social workers and other relevant practitioners in
dealing with child protection and welfare cases.

The introduction and use of the Child Protection and Welfare Practice
Handbook will standardise the nationwide implementation of Children
First. Children First National Guidance 2011 promotes the protection
of children from abuse and neglect.

The Guidance 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. It sets out specific protocols for HSE
social workers, Gardaí and other front line staff in dealing with
suspected abuse and neglect. The scope of the guidance extends beyond
the reporting to statutory bodies. It emphasizes the importance of
multi-disciplinary, inter-agency working in the management of concerns
about children’s safety and welfare. Key to this is the sharing of
information between agencies and disciplines in the best interests of
children and the need for full co-operation to ensure better outcomes.

The Child Protection and Welfare Practice Handbook will assist with
the standard implementation of Children First Guidance 2011 and will
support the vital work of social workers and other relevant
practitioners in dealing with child protection and welfare cases.

The HSE will be rolling out Child Protection and Welfare Training
Courses to HSE staff nationwide. In addition, building on the
partnership focus between Children and Family Services and An Garda
Síochána, an updated joint training programme for HSE social workers
and Gardaí on Children First 2011 and the Child Protection and Welfare
Practice Handbook, will be rolled out from September 2011 until June
2012.

The HSE urges anyone who has suspicions or concerns about a child’s
safety to contact the Gardaí or the local HSE Social Work office.