Press Release

Ministers launch North-South Child Protection Hub

The Social Services Minister and the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs have launched a new on-line child protection internet resource believed to be the first of its kind in the UK and Ireland and across the world.

At the launch in Newry, Minister Michael McGimpsey and Minister Barry Andrews saw at first hand how the new internet resource known as the Hub (North South Child Protection Hub), will work. It is available for use by child protection professionals (policy makers, practitioners, researchers and educators) in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The Hub brings together research, policy and practice guidance, inspection reports, serious case reviews, court judgements, news articles and other material relevant to child protection published in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland together with material from Great Britain and other countries. Staff in the Health and Social Care Board and Trusts in Northern Ireland and in the Health Service Executive in the Republic of Ireland, will have access to the Hub but it will also be an important resource for all organisations concerned with child protection.

Welcoming the launch of the Hub, Social Services Minister Michael McGimpsey said: “This is an exciting new development. It will ensure that child-protection staff working on both sides of the border has immediate access to the most up to date information and research about child protection.

“We all have a responsibility to make sure our children are protected. I believe that better informed practitioners lead to better protection of children and the Hub will certainly help towards achieving this.”

Also welcoming the development and launch of the Hub, Barry Andrews, TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs said: “The Hub is an excellent resource to support evidence informed child protection policy and practice in both jurisdictions.

“The website differs from other resources in a number of important ways. It is targeted at child protection staff working in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. It provides comprehensive information across the range of issues for staff working with children, i.e.legislation, policy, research and practice information. It will be updated daily and has cutting edge features that will save staff precious time and effort in accessing valuable research and information.”

1. The North South Child Protection Hub was developed under the auspices of the North South Ministerial Council (NSMC)

2. The NSMC was established under the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement (1998), to develop consultation, co-operation and action within the island of Ireland – including through implementation on an all-island and cross-border basis – on matters of mutual interest and within the competence of the Administrations, North and South. The NSMC comprises Ministers of the Northern Ireland Executive and the Irish Government working together to take forward co-operation between both parts of the island to mutual benefit.

3. Officials from DHSSPS (NI) and the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (ROI) co-chair a cross-border group of officials to intensify co-operation on child protection. Officials have established 5 Subgroups to take forward issues relating to vetting and barring; research and knowledge transfer; movement of children; media awareness; and internet safety. The sub-groups include representatives from relevant statutory and voluntary groups North and South.

4. The Hub was developed by the NSMC Child Protection Research and Knowledge Transfer sub-group in conjunction with Childlink Ltd, a private company based in West Belfast in Northern Ireland. Childlink Ltd was established 12 years ago and has seven full-time staff. Access to the Hub is available through fee paying membership of Childlink Ltd.