Press Release

Hanafin Launches Good Practice Guidelines for organisations working with children

Mary Hanafin T.D., Minister for Children, has today (Friday, 12 April 2002) launched Our Duty to Care aimed at providing guidance to the voluntary and community sector in providing safe environments for children they are dealing with.

The guidelines are based on Children First – National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children and include

  1. Guidance on the promotion of child welfare and the development of safe practices in work with children
  2. Booklet, Fact Sheets and training video for the community and voluntary sector
  3. Information on how to recognise signs of child abuse and the correct steps to take within organisations if it is suspected, witnessed or disclosed

“The importance and dedication of the voluntary and community sector who work with our children on a day to day basis must be acknowledged” Minister Hanafin said.

“They provide opportunities for children to benefit socially, educationally and recreationally and people working in this area are particularly well placed to support children who are going through bad times, or to identify children who have been or are at risk of being harmed. This document provides very practical advice to staff and volunteers who work with children by outlining fundamental principles of good practice” she added.

Our Duty to Care sets out very clearly the principles of best practice and how to promote the rights of children. It provides advice on developing safe recruitment practices and strategies on developing safe management practice and policies within organisations. It also suggests ways that organisations could raise awareness among their staff and volunteers about child abuse and how staff should respond to accidents or complaints and alleged or suspected abuse.

“Our children need safe environments to play and learn in and I believe that these guidelines provide sound advice for organisations such as youth clubs and sports clubs” said the Minister.

“I would encourage all parents to get involved in the clubs and organisations their children are members of and ensure that they are following best practice in creating safe environments for their children” she added.

€9.47m has been provided to health boards to implement Children First – National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children since they were published in 1999. Part of this additional funding is being used to create the post of Information and Advice Officer in the health boards whose job is to support voluntary and community organisations in creating safe environments for children. Our Duty to Care provides the basis in which these officers will work with these organisations.

“Children need to be protected in all aspects of their lives and safeguards are also needed for the volunteers who work with them. Our Duty to Care provides the framework upon which we can help achieve this” concluded Minister Mary Hanafin, T.D.