Republic of Ireland: Children

Bills, Legislation, Statutory and Good Practice Guidance


Established in 2014 the Child and Family Agency (tusla) is the dedicated state agency responsible for improving wellbeing and outcomes for children. It provides child protection, early intervention and family support services in Ireland. 

 An Garda Síochána also has statutory responsibilities for safety and welfare of children

 Dial 999 in an emergency


The EU General Data Protection Regulation 2018

Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017

National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 (Commencement) Order 2016.

Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions and Certain Disclosures) Act 2016

Children First Act 2015

An Act for the purposes of making further and better provision for the care and protection of children and for those purposes to require the preparation, by certain providers of services to children, of child safeguarding statements; to require certain persons to make reports to the Child and Family Agency in respect of children in certain circumstances; to require certain persons to assist the Child and Family Agency in certain circumstances; to provide for the establishment of the Children First Inter- Departmental Implementation Group; to make provision for the preparation of sectoral implementation plans by Departments of State; to provide for the abolition of the common law defence of reasonable chastisement and, for that purpose, to amend the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997; and to provide for related matters. 

Child Care (Amendment) Act 2015

An Act to provide for the preparation by the Child and Family Agency of aftercare plans to provide for the giving of assistance by the Agency, subject to the resources available to the Agency, to meet the needs of certain persons who have been in the care of that Agency; to provide for the inspection of premises in which it is proposed to provide early years service; and for those and other purposes, to amend the Child Care Act 1991; the Children Act 2001; the Health Act 2007; the Child and Family Agency Act 2013; 

Freedom of Information Act 2014


Protected Disclosures Act 2014 Ireland

Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) (Amendment) Act 2013

An act to give effect to certain provisions of Directive 2011/36/eu of the European Parliament And of the council of 5 April 20111 on Preventing and combating trafficking in Human beings and protecting its victims, and Replacing council framework decision 2002/629/jha; for those and other purposes to Amend and extend the criminal law (human Trafficking) act 2008, the child trafficking And pornography act 1998 and the criminal Evidence act 1992; and to provide for Related matters. [9th July, 2013]

Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013

An Act to protect human life during pregnancy; to make provision for reviews at the instigation of a pregnant woman of certain medical opinions given in respect of pregnancy; to provide for an offence of intentional destruction of unborn human life; to amend the Health Act 2007; to repeal sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861; and to provide for matters connected therewith. [30th July, 2013]

Child and Family Agency Act 2013 

The Child and Family Agency (called Tusla) is a statutory organisation, established in January 2014 under theChild and Family Agency Act 2013. Under Section 8 of the Act, it is required to:

  • Support and promote the development, welfare and protection of children, and
  • Support and encourage the effective functioning of families
  • Child welfare and protection services previously operated by the Health Service Executive (including family support services)
  • The services previously provided by the former Family Support Agency
  • The services previously provided by the former National Educational Welfare Board
  • Pre-school inspection services
  • Domestic, sexual and gender-based violence services
  • Services related to the psychological welfare of children

 National Vetting Bureau (Children And Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012

Irish Criminal Justice (Female Genital Mutilation) Act 2012

Criminal Justice (Withholding of Information on Offences against Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012

Child Care (Amendment) Act 2011

Amendment of Act 2001

Adoption Act 2010

Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act 2008

Child Care (Amendment) Act 2007

Amendment of Act 1991

Criminal Justice Act 2006

Section 176 introduced the criminal charge of ‘reckless endangerment of children.’

Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2006

Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) (Amendment) Act 2007

Child Care (Pre-School Services) (No 2) Regulations 2006 and Child Care (Pre-School Services) (No 2) (Amendment) Regulations 2006

Freedom of Information Act 1997

and Freedom of Information Act 2003

Gives the right to request any recorded information we hold that isn’t about you personally.

Data Protection (Amendment) Act 2003

Ombudsman for Children Act 2002

Child Care Act 2001

This Act focuses on preventing criminal behaviour, diversion from the criminal justice system and rehabilitation. The use of detention for a child is to be a last resort: the Act requires that all avenues be explored before it is used.

Sex Offenders Act 2001

Youth Work Act 2001

The purpose of this act is to provide a statutory framework for the provision of youth work programmes and services by the Minister, VECs and by the National and Regional Youth Organisations.

Family Support Agency Act 2001

Education (Welfare) Act, 2000

Ensures that all children of school going age attend school and if they fail to do so, that they will receive a certain minimum education otherwise.

The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse Act 2000

Education Act 1998

Protections for Persons Reporting Child Abuse Act, 1998.

This Act not only protects those reporting, reasonably and in good faith, child abuse, but also makes it a criminal offence to report child abuse, knowing it to be false.

Child Trafficking and Pornography Act, 1998

Non-Fatal Offences against the Person Act, 1997

The two relevant provisions of this Act are:

(i) it abolishes the rule of law under which teachers were immune from criminal liability in respect of physical chastisement of pupils;

(ii) it describes circumstances in which the use of reasonable force may be justifiable.

Domestic Violence Act 1996

Includes Safety Order and Barring order, The Barring order requires a violent person to leave the family home.

Criminal Evidence Act, 1992

Including evidence on television link and video evidence

Child Care Act 1991

 To provide for the care and protection of children and for related matters

Statutory Guidance

Children First Guidelines 2017 updated 2019 

This national guidance sets out the particular statutory responsibility of the HSE Children and Family Services and the Garda Síochána when they are alerted to concerns about the welfare and safety of a child.

In January 2019 the Guidance was amended by way of an addendum to ensure that online safety is specifically accounted for in child safeguarding statements.

Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools 2017

Good Practice Guidance and Procedures

Guide to Professional Conduct and Ethics for Registered Medical Practitioners (Amended) 8th Edition 2019

A Guide for the Reporting of Child Protection and Welfare concerns 2017

Anti-Bullying Procedures For Primary And Post-Primary Schools 2013

Child Protection and Welfare Practice Handbook 2011

This 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.

Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools 2008

Our Duty to Care: Principles of Good Practice for the Protection of Children and Young People 2002


Health and Social Care

Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA)

National Standards for the Protection and Welfare of Children 



Inspectorate: Supporting Schools and Departments January –March 2021


The Charities Regulator

Charities Act 2009

Charities Governance Code – Reporting on Compliance in 2021

Safeguarding Guidance for Charitable Organisations working with Children 2020