Children First Act 2015
The Children First Act 2015 was enacted on 19th November 2015 and commenced in full on December 11th 2017.
The Act places a number of statutory obligations on specific groups of professionals and on particular organisations providing services to children.
Through the provisions of the Act, it is intended to:
- Raise awareness of child abuse and neglect
- Provide for mandatory reporting by key professionals
- Improve child safeguarding arrangements in organisations providing services to children
- Provide for cooperation and information-sharing between agencies when Tusla – Child and Family Agency, is undertaking child protection
The legislation also contains a provision that removes the defence of reasonable chastisement in relation to corporal punishment as part of court proceedings.
The policy intent is that the legislation will operate side-by-side with the existing non-statutory obligations provided for in Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children (2017).
The Criminal Justice (Withholding of Information on Offences against Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act, 2012 and the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act, 2012 are additional key pieces of complementary legislation designed to improve child safety and protection.