Mandated persons (as defined in the Children First Act 2015) are people who have contact with children and/or families and who, because of their qualifications, training and/or employment role, are in a key position to help protect children from harm. Mandated persons include professionals working with children in the education, health, justice, youth and childcare sectors. Certain professionals who may not work directly with children, such as those in adult counselling or psychiatry, are also mandated persons. The list also includes registered foster carers and members of the clergy or pastoral care workers of a church or other religious community.

Mandated persons have two main legal obligations under the Children First Act 2015

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

The threshold for reporting by a mandated person is outlined in section 14(1) and 14(2) as

Section 14(1)

…where a mandated person knows, believes or has reasonable grounds to suspect, on the basis of information that he or she has received, acquired or becomes aware of in the course of his or her employment or profession as such a mandated person, that a child –

            (a) has been harmed,

            (b) is being harmed, or

            (c) is at risk of being harmed,

he or she shall, as soon as practicable, report that knowledge, belief or suspicion, as the case may be, to the Agency.’

 Section 14(2) of the Children First Act 2015 also places obligations on mandated persons to report any disclosures made by a child:

            Where a child believes that he or she –

            (a) has been harmed,

            (b) is being harmed, or

            (c) is at risk of being harmed,

and discloses this belief to a mandated person in the course of a mandated person’s employment or profession as such a person, the mandated person shall, … as soon as practicable, report that disclosure to the Agency.’

  •  To assist Tusla, if requested, in assessing a concern which has been the subject of a mandated report.

Further information on the responsibilities of mandated persons to assist Tusla is available at , from the document Mandated Assisting Protocol for Tusla Staff.

Mandated persons, under the legislation are required to report any knowledge, belief or reasonable suspicion that a child has been harmed, is being harmed, or is at risk of being harmed. The Act defines harm as assault, ill-treatment, neglect or sexual abuse, and covers single and multiple instances.

Members of Church personnel classified as mandated persons.

• All clerics and religious who have any ministry are to be considered mandated persons

• Volunteers are not mandated persons under the Children First Act 2015. However DLP or Deputy DLP who are volunteers are classed as mandated persons under Church standards.

List of all mandated persons and their roles – Diocese of Meath.

The following are classified as mandated persons under Schedule 2 of the Children First Act 2015:**

  • Clerics (116)*
  • DLP (1)
  • Child safeguarding staff (Trainers, Support Person, Garda Vetting Liaison person and support staff) (6)
  • Pastoral workers (7)

*This includes 14 priests who are retired and/or in a nursing home.

** A list of mandated persons is available from the Diocesan Office.

The Children First Act 2015 does not impose criminal sanctions on mandated persons who fail to make a report to Tusla. However, there are possible consequences for a failure to report. There are a number of administrative actions that Tusla could take if, after an investigation,it emerges that a mandated person did not make a mandated report and a child was subsequently left at risk or harmed.

Tusla may:

• Make a complaint to the Fitness to Practise Committee of a regulatory body of which a mandated person is a member

• Pass information about failure to make a report to the National Vetting Bureau of An Garda Síochána. This information could therefore be disclosed to a current or future employer when a person is next vetted.

Training will be provided for all mandated persons.

The Criminal Justice (Withholding of Information on Offences against Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 requires that any person who has information about a serious offence against a child, which may result in charges or prosecution, must report this to An Garda Síochána. Failure to report under the Act is a criminal offence under that legislation. This obligation is in addition to any obligations under the Children First Act 2015.