Sacred Heart School Westport

Child Protection

Child Protection

Children First Legislation

The Children First Act 2015 (the Act), which was signed into law on 19 November 2015, puts elements of the Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children on a statutory footing. The legislation forms part of a suite of child protection legislation which includes the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts, 2012-2016 and the Criminal Justice (Withholding of Information on Offences against Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012.
The Act provides for a number of key child protection measures, as follows:
• A requirement on organisations providing services to children to keep children safe from harm and to produce a Child Safeguarding Statement;
• A requirement on defined categories of persons (mandated persons) to report child protection concerns over a defined threshold to the Child and Family Agency;
• A requirement on mandated persons to assist the Child and Family Agency in the assessment of a child protection risk, if requested to do so by the Agency;
The Act places specific obligations on organisations which provide services to children and young people, including the requirement to:
• Carry out a risk assessment to identify whether a child or young person could be harmed while availing of the service.
• Develop a Child Safeguarding Statement that outlines the policies and procedures which are in place to manage the risks that have been identified.
• Appoint a relevant person to be the first point of contact in respect of the organisation’s Child Safeguarding Statement. This person is referred to as the Designated Liaison Person (DLP).
The Designated Liaison Person (DLP) for the Sacred Heart School Westport is the school Principal Ms Majella Morrison and the Deputy Designated Liaison Person (DDLP) for Sacred Heart School Westport is the school Deputy Principal Mr Kevin Malone.

What is a Child Safeguarding Statement?

This is a written statement that specifies the service being provided and the principles and procedures to be observed in order to ensure, as far as practicable, that a child availing of the service is safe from harm.
The Child Safeguarding Statement should provide an overview of the measures that your organisation has in place to ensure that children are protected from harm. It may also refer to more detailed policies which can be made available on request.
The Child Safeguarding Statement must be completed within three months of the Children First Act 2015 coming into force. Organisations that are established after the Children First Act 2015 comes into force, must comply with the requirements within three months from the date the service commenced.
Upon completion, the Child Safeguarding Statement must be circulated to all staff members. It must be displayed publicly and made available to parents and guardians, Tusla and members of the public upon request.

What is a risk assessment?

Under the Children First Act 2015, organisations providing a relevant service such as schools, must undertake a risk assessment. This considers the potential for harm to come to children while they are in the organisation’s care. It should be noted that risk in this context is the risk of abuse and not general health and safety risk.
A risk assessment is an exercise where the organisation examines all aspects of its service from a safeguarding perspective, to establish whether there are any practices or features of the service that have the potential to put children at risk.
The risk assessment process is intended to enable the organisation to:
Identify potential risks
• Develop policies and procedures to minimise risk by responding in a timely manner to potential risks
• Review whether adequate precautions have been taken to eliminate or reduce these risks
• After the risk assessment has been completed, organisations are required to develop a Child Safeguarding Statement that outlines the policies and procedures which are in place to manage the risks that have been identified.
Please see attached documents below. In addition please see links to relevant website for more information:
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Castlebar Rd, Carrowbeg, Westport, Co. Mayo, F28 Y368, Ireland.
098 26 268
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