Public Consultation begins on new Standards for the Protection and Welfare of Children

Date of publication: 
Thursday, March 22, 2012

Proposed new national standards for the protection and welfare of children are being launched for public consultation today by the Health Information and Quality Authority.Tracey Cooper, Chief Executive of the Health Information and Quality Authority, said: “It is very clear from various reports in recent years that have highlighted the scale and seriousness of child abuse in Ireland, that there is a need to significantly improve Ireland’s child protection and welfare services. With this as our guiding principle, the Authority has developed draft National Standards which set out the key attributes of an effective child protection service. These Standards clearly put the needs of children at the heart of that service and promote the principles outlined in Children First, the national guidelines for the protection and welfare of children.

“The Authority is committed to ensuring that the safety and wellbeing of children is the top priority for those working in the HSE services that deal directly with children at risk. The Standards are designed to follow a child’s journey through the child protection system to ensure that his/her safety and welfare is being protected. They help children and their families know where and how they can access services, the importance of good assessment and planning, through to ensuring that, where necessary, timely action is taken to protect children.”

The Draft National Standards for the Protection and Welfare of Children are grouped under six key headings, and they cover issues such as listening to children, assessment and planning, working with other agencies, the protection of children across a range of settings and the training and support of staff.

“The HSE has a statutory duty to promote the welfare of children not receiving adequate care and protection and therefore is critical in ensuring that the system for protecting children is effective and robust. The overall aim in developing the Standards is to promote a high quality and effective service for all children who are at risk of abuse or neglect. The Standards will be the basis of HIQA’s future inspections of the HSE’s child protection functions and can also be used as a guide for self-assessment and improvement by all those involved in the protection of children,” Tracey Cooper continued.

The Authority is now seeking the views of the general public and children and young people on the draft National Standards. Information collected from this consultation process will be used to inform the development of the Standards, which when approved by the Board of the Authority, will be submitted to the Minister for Children who will draft regulations giving the Authority the legal powers to measure performance against these Standards.

Copies of the draft National Standards, and an easy to read version, can be downloaded from our website, Comments can be submitted by completing the consultation feedback form on our website, by going to our facebook page (search for HIQA on or Twitter ( You can also email us at or post your comments to the: Health Information and Quality Authority, Draft National Standards for the Protection and Welfare of Children, George’s Court, George’s Lane, Smithfield, Dublin 7.

The deadline for receipt of submissions is 17 May 2012.

Further Information: 

Marty Whelan, Head of Communications and Stakeholder Engagement
01 814 7481 / 086 244 7623

Notes to the Editor: 

Child protection is the process of protecting individual children identified as suffering, or likely to suffer from, significant harm as a result of abuse or neglect.

HIQA established a Standards Advisory Group in June 2011 to advise it on a set of draft standards for public consultation. This is a group of key experts and representatives from the HSE, Department of Children and Youth Affairs, Department of Education and Skills, Department of Justice, An Garda Síochána, other regulatory bodies, and people from the academic and legal fields, non-statutory organisations providing services to children, and other key stakeholders.

These Draft National Standards for the Protection and Welfare of Children have been developed through a structured process aimed at reflecting best practice in social care regulation in Ireland and abroad. They are based on key principles which guide services on how to protect children and promote their welfare. These Standards have been grouped according to six key themes as follows:

  • Child-centred care
  • Safe and effective services
  • Governance, leadership and management
  • Use of resources
  • Workforce
  • Use of information.

Once the consultation deadline has passed, the Authority will carefully analyse all the submissions made and will make further amendments to the Standards document. We will present the main amendments in a Statement of Outcomes document which we will make publicly available.