Children Safe and Protected

Parents are a child's first and best protector and the most committed champion and defender of their child's rights. However, as a society we offer parents very little guidance, training and support for their vital role.

There is extensive international evidence to demonstrate the importance of setting a strong foundation in the early years for future positive life outcomes. Supporting parents in their crucial role is at the core of protecting children and promoting their welfare and development. 

The early years in a child's life can also be some of the most challenging for parents.  Unfortunately it is that very time when there tends to be least support available from statutory or community services.  The youngballymun model ensures that evidence-based services and supports to parents target and prioritise the crucial first three years of life. 

Child protection and welfare has been the focus of significant media, political and public attention in recent years as the ongoing scandals of child abuse prompt a long overdue and radical rethinking of how as a society we value, protect and vindicate the rights of children.  Affording children the legal safeguards they deserve to be protected in their own right is the starting point. 

Keeping children safe and protected starts first and foremost with providing families the support and assistance they need to do the best job they can to look after their children.  It's about strengthening parents' capacity to improve outcomes for their children. It's about ensuring that strategies that inform and empower parents in their vital task are in place and that where the welfare and protection of children is in doubt or at risk, that the appropriate responses are provided by skilled social services staff, tiered and stepped as the levels of need and risk increase.

Such services need to be embedded locally, expert, and accessible, ensuring that if and when the parenting role has to be filled through the care and protection services of the State, decisions are made at all times with the wellbeing and welfare of the child as the central consideration.

Keeping our children safe and protected is everyone's responsibility.