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Children First Act - Commenced 11 December 2017

Children First Act - Commenced 11 December 2017
The Children First Legislation in the Republic of Ireland was passed and signed into law on 19th November 2015. On Monday 2nd October 2017 the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, announced that following almost two years of preparations all remaining provisions of the Children First Act 2015 will be commenced on 11th December 2017. 

This is important to sports clubs
as the Act places specific obligations on organisations which provide services to children and young people, including the requirement to:

1. Keep children safe from harm while they are using your service

2. Carry out a risk assessment (It should be noted that risk in this context is the risk of abuse and not general health and safety risk) to identify whether a child or young person could be harmed while receiving your services

3. Develop a Child Safeguarding Statement that outlines the policies and procedures which are in place to manage the risks that have been identified, see below for more detail

4. Appoint a relevant person to be the first point of contact in respect of the organisation’s Child Safeguarding Statement.

What is a Child Safeguarding Statement?

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. 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. Cycling Ireland have a safeguarding statement in place ‘Code of Practice and Safeguarding Procedures for Young and Vulnerable Cyclists’ that all clubs affiliated to Cycling Ireland must agree to and we would recommend adapt and use at club level. Please see link below:

Cycling Ireland Code of Conduct

Sport Ireland Code of Conduct

The Child Safeguarding Statement should provide an overview of the measures that our 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. Our safeguarding policy will address all these issues.

Background information:

  • Tusla published an accompanying suite of Children First resource documents for those individuals and organisations who will acquire legal obligations under the Children First Act 2015.

In the context of good practices by our sport, these guidance documents, applicable in ROI jurisdiction, are relevant to all our clubs/organisations (both in ROI and Northern Irl.) as we seek and adopt the highest possible standards and practices on an All-Ireland basis. 

Mandated Person:

Brigid O'Dea is Cycling Ireland's Mandated Person. Mandated Persons have 2 main legal obligations under the Children First Act 2015;

· To report harm of children, above a defined threshold to Tusla

· To assist Tusla, if requested, is assessing a concern which has been subject of a mandated report.

Under the legislated, a Mandated Person, is required to report and knowledge, belief or reasonable suspicion that a child is being harmed, or at risk of being harmed.

Please make contact with Brigid (safeguarding@cyclingireland.ie ; 0860447735) if you have any concerns about the welfare of a child in our organisation.

In the coming months we shall be r
equired to review our reporting of abuse procedures regarding the use of Designated Liaison Persons and Mandated Persons (paid employee), the Act will require us to carry out risk assessments (Safeguarding only) at all levels of our sport and we (including clubs) will have to publish and put on display a 'Child Safeguarding Statements’ and much more.

This legislation is important to Cycling Ireland clubs in a number of ways. Therefore, it is critical that we have your support and compliance in adopting any new practices set out in the legislation.

Please note, this communication is to alert you to changes that are due to be introduced in the coming months. Cycling Ireland will provide further communication and support over the next period to assist you in these changes.

The welfare of children and young people in our organisation is of paramount importance. Thanks for your support in helping to make cycling a fun, safe and positive experience for all our young cyclists

Further information regarding carrying out risk assessments and the child safeguarding statement will follow in due course.

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