Safeguarding Children and Young People

The Public Health Agency (PHA) is a member of the Safeguarding Board, Northern Ireland (SBNI) and is committed to working with other agencies to safeguard children and young people. 

Safeguarding children is the process of preventing impairment of children’s health and development, and of ensuring they are growing up safely and securely and provided with effective care, all of which collectively enables them to attain greater success in adulthood. Safeguarding also extends to protecting children from abuse or neglect, when it occurs, including the promotion and protection of children’s rights (SBNI 2012).

 The PHA participates in Children and Young People Services Partnership arrangements to achieve the following outcomes for all children and young people as outlined in the Northern Ireland Executive’s 10 year strategy, 'Our Children and Young People – Our Pledge’

  • Being healthy;                                                                                                                   
  • Enjoying, learning and achieving;
  • Living in safety and stability;
  • Experience economic and environmental well-being;
  • Contributing positively to community and society; and
  • Living in a society which respects their rights.

Responsibilities of PHA staff towards children, young people and their families include:

  • Promoting the rights of children and young people in keeping with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child;
  • Seeking the views of children and young people and giving these serious consideration when developing and reviewing services;
  • Promoting public awareness of the need to safeguard children;
  • Supporting prevention and early intervention approaches and strategies that support children, young people and their families;
  • Recognising and responding to child care concerns in keeping with regional child protection policies and procedures using the appropriate Northern Ireland Health and Social Care (HSC) Trusts Gateway Services for Children’s Social Work;
    • Cooperating with the HSC Board, HSC Trusts and other agencies to promote safe and effective services for children and families, and monitor progress against agreed strategies and action plans.
    • Providing professional advice in relation to the implementation of safeguarding recommendations and strategies in liaison with HSC Board  and HSC Trust staff.
    • Promoting regionally consistent high standards of safeguarding practice;
    • Maintaining appropriate levels of professional knowledge and expertise;
    • Adhering to relevant professional codes of conduct.

Public Health Agency Membership of the SBNI

Ms Emily Roberts: Regional Designated Nurse for Safeguarding Children and Young People

Nursing, Midwifery and AHP representation on SBNI Comiitttees.docx

Regional Safeguarding Children Nursing, Midwifery & Allied Health Forum

The PHA has established a Regional Safeguarding Children Nursing, Midwifery & Allied Health Professionals Forum for Northern Ireland to support and develop the effective contribution of nurses, midwives and allied health professionals to safeguarding children and young people.  This committee is chaired by Mrs Emily Roberts, Safeguarding Children Nurse Consultant, PHA

Regional Inter-Agency Health and Well-being Needs of Looked After Children Group

The PHA facilitates a regional inter-agency group set up to promote the health and well-being of looked after children through evidence based interventions, improved coordination, sharing models of best practice and shaping future services.  Emphasis is placed on prevention of poor health outcomes and early intervention initiatives. The group has members from the HSC Board, PHA, HSC Trusts and Voluntary Sector as well as representatives from the University of Ulster, Queens University Belfast and the Clinical Education Centre. Further information is available from  or

Regional Nursing, Midwifery & Allied Health Professional Policy, Procedures and Guidance

The PHA supports the implementation of regionally consistent safeguarding children practice that is underpinned by agreed policies, procedures and standards:

Safer sleeping resources

It is recognised that consistent messages about safer sleeping should be provided regularly both in the antenatal period and postnatally. The Public Health Agency, in consultation with practitioners from the key disciplines across all five HSCTs, have developed two new resources to assist practitioners in “having the conversation as opposed to just delivering the message.” The resources include a Parent Information Card and a Risk Assessment Tool for professionals.  A brief guidance document to support practitioners in the use of the resources is also included. 

For useful links please click here - Useful links.pdf