The campaign aims to raise awareness of Children First and remind organisations working with children and young people of their responsibilities
Today marks the launch of the first National Children First Awareness Week, which will run from the 1st to 7th November.
The aim of the week is to raise awareness of Children First and remind wider society, including organisations working with children and young people, of our collective responsibility to keep them safe in our communities.
The week was officially launched by the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, on behalf of the statutory Children First Inter-Departmental Implementation Group (CFIDIG) along with senior figure from An Garda Síochána, the HSE and Tusla - Child and Family Agency.
The Children First Act 2015 requires Government Departments to have Sectoral Implementation Plans for their respective policy areas.
Also under the Act, organisations working with children and young people must ensure that risk assessment processes and Child Safeguarding Statements are in place and active.
Speaking at the launch, Minister O’Gorman, said:
“The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of communities and organisations working together.
"Critically, it has also shown us how crucial care and support is to individual and societal wellbeing and welfare. With the resumption of many services, clubs and groups, we are reminding organisations working with children and young people of their responsibilities under the Children First Act 2015 and renewing our collective focus on supporting and safeguarding children.”
Assistant Commissioner John O'Driscoll, Organised and Serious Crime, An Garda Síochána, said:
“The Garda Síochána welcomes the opportunity provided by the Children First Awareness Week to increase awareness of the need to keep children safe.
"In this regard, the Garda Síochána is determined to identify every possible means available to protect children from any risk they may be exposed to and will continue to work with relevant Government Departments and State agencies for that purpose”.
As part of the campaign, a new website is launching at gov.ie/childrenfirst, where users will find all the key information about Children First.
A series of information videos featuring a Garda, public health nurse and social worker will further spread awareness of the work being done across society to keep children safe. These resources will be supported by an advertising campaign across digital and mainstream media platforms.
Anyone who has a concern about a child and young person should report it to the Tusla social work department in the area where the child lives.
In cases of emergency, where a child or young person appears to be at immediate and serious risk, contact An Garda Síochána.
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