Children (<18yo) brought in to CUH ED by Gardaí who do NOT require medical/psychiatry input


  • In the absence of a national out of hours service, hospitals have traditionally been utilised as a place of safety for children
  • However, since 2011 there has been an Emergency Out of Hours Social Work Service in Cork, locally based contactable (still called a pilot and covering the North Lee catchment area, however have cooperated with us in CUH and provided a service across the county)
  • This service is run by the Child & Family Agency (Tusla) and the Social Workers will come into the hospital if necessary out of hours
  • There is also a National Out of hours service, which operates a central national telephone line, however Social Workers are based at a geographical distance from the Cork area. Contact numbers available from CNM or via the local Garda Station
  • The Child and Family Agency has primary responsibility to promote the safety and well-being of children
  • An Garda Síochána also have statutory responsibilities for the safety and welfare of children
  • The Out of Hours Social Workers have access to emergency care placements and therefore should be the first point of contact for Gardaí dealing with child protection or welfare issues

The following relates to Persons <18 years of Age brought in by Gardaí who do not need medical or psychiatric treatment/assessment:

  • The hospital will consider admitting a child who, on reasonable grounds, is suspected of having been subjected to abuse or deliberate neglect and this matter requires further clinical investigation
  • Children <16yo requiring more than 4 hours care in CUH should be admitted under a paediatrician
  • CUH cannot guarantee the safety of young people who are left unaccompanied in the Emergency Department. When a young person is in the department they should be accompanied by a parent, Social Worker, Social Care Worker a member of an Garda Siochana or another appropriate adult
  • A young person who is admitted from a Residential Unit should be accompanied by a Care worker or in the absence of a care worker and out of hours social worker, as per practice level agreement, June 2014
  • All matters relating to child protection or welfare should be referred to the Medical Social Work Department regardless of professionals involved/outcome of assessment


Content by Katy Twomey (Social Work Team Leader CUH), Dr Íomhar O' Sullivan 23/01/2017. Last review Dr ÍOS 31/08/22.