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Personal Information
Name Buckley, Helen
College Address School of Social Work & Social Policy,
Main Department Sch Office - Social Work & Social Policy
College Title Associate Professor
College Tel +353 1 896 2065
Dr. Helen Buckley is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work and Social Policy and Course Coordinator, Postgraduate Diploma in Child Protection and Welfare, Trinity College Dublin. She is also a Senior Research Fellow in the Children's Research Centre, Trinity College Dublin. She has practised as a social worker in the areas of disability, mental health, and community care. She teaches and researches on child protection practice and policy, assessment, service user perspectives, children living with domestic violence and the use of evidence in practice. She has published number of peer reviewed articles and books on child protection practice, as well as research reports and policy documents. She was a co-author of the Ferns Report (2005) which inquired into clerical sexual abuse. She is currently the chair of the National Panel that reviews serious incidents including the deaths of children known to the child protection services. She is an advisor to the National Director of Children and Family Services in Ireland and also provides cunsultancy to the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.
Teaching interests and responsibilities
Main teaching area is child protection perspectives, policies and practices. Teaches modules on the undergraduate social work course and the Postgraduate Diploma in Child Protection and Welfare. Also has teaching inputs in the M.Sc in Drug and Alcohol Policy and the Masters in Social Work course. Provides service teaching for the School of Education.
Professional Qualifications
Qualification Institution Class of Degree Title of Dissertation Date Conferred
B.Soc.Sc. University College Dublin    
Certificate of Qualification in Social Work University College Dublin    
Advanced Diploma in Child Protection and Welfare Trinity College Dublin Distinction  
MA University of Dublin    
PhD National University of Ireland    
Details Date
Member of the HIQA working group developing national standards in child protection 2011-12
Member of the Advisory Committee on Children and Family Services appointed by the HSE 2011
Member of the Scientific Committee for the BASPCAN Congress 2012 to be held in Queen's University Belfast 2011
Chair of the National Review Panel on Serious Incidents including the Deaths of Children in Care 2010
Member of Child Protection Cross Border Sub Group on Research and Knoweldge Transfer 2009
Administrative Functions
Details Level Date From Date To
Director of Teaching and Learning (Postgraduate) July 2005 July 2007
Coordinator, Postgraduate Diploma in Child Protection and Welfare 1996
Awards and Honours
Award Date
Elected to Fellowship of Trinity College 2006
Research Institutes / Centres / Groups
Research Institutes / Centres / Groups Description of Role Date From Date To
Children's Research Centre Senior Research Fellow 01-JAN-02 31-OCT-11
Description of Research Interests
Child protection policy and practice, particularly inter-disciplinary and inter-agency collaboration; child protection procedures and guidelines; assessment; impact of social factors on child welfare, evaluation of child protection practices, research utilisation.
Research Interests
Child centred research questions, study design, data analysis Child protection policy and practice Child welfare Promotion of child centred research
Research Projects
Project title An examination of recommendations from inquiries into events in families and their interactions with State services, and their impact on policy and practice
Summary This study was commissioned by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs with the overall aims of examining the recommendations of a number of specific inquiry reports in relation to child protection failings in Ireland, ascertaining the degree to which the recommendations were implemented in the context of concurrent reforms, and developing a template to guide recommendations in future reports.
Funding Agency Department of Children and Youth Affairs
Programme IRC Research initiatives
Type of Project Research
Date from 01 November 2012
Date to 30th April 2013
Person Months 12

Project title Audit of Irish Research on Child Protection
Summary The purpose of this project to undertake an audit of child protection research in the Republic of Ireland. The principal output from this work will be an accessible database that will be publicly available. The CAAB are undertaking this audit in consultation with the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, which is also liaising with the Health Research Board in their mapping exercise of research undertaken on child health.
Funding Agency Children Acts Advisory Board
Type of Project
Date from October 2009
Date to December 2009
Person Months 9

Project title Survey of newly qualified primary teachers to ascertain their knowledge of and familiarity with child protection procedures
Summary this was a one off survey of 101 newly qualified primary teachers representing separate primary schools around the Dublin area. It measured their knowledge of and familiarity with their schools child protection policies and procedures. Results showed that a minority of teachers had been inducted, had read the procedures or knew the identity of the Designated Liaison Person for child protection in their school. The study also demonstrated a low rate of pre-qualifying training, and lower levels of confidence in ability to identify and report child abuse in those who had less than three hours training.
Funding Agency
Type of Project Survey
Date from January 2009
Date to June 2009
Person Months 10

Project title Putting Research Evidence to Work
Summary This project sought to establish the extent of research utilisation in the Irish child welfare sector. It identified the barriers and facilitators that impact on research use and made recommendations for research commissioners, organisations providing services and research providers
Funding Agency Children Acts Advisory Board
Type of Project
Date from April 2008
Date to November 2009
Person Months 20

Project title Child Protection Services in Ireland: An Evaluation by Service Users
Summary This project evaluated child protection services from the perspective of sixty seven service users including thirteen children and young people. Child protection services are defined as those services which provide an integrated response to reported child protection concerns, principally the Health Service Executive child care services and An Garda Síochána. Service users in this context are defined as children, young people, parents/carers and extended family members who have been involved with child protection services through their own initiative or referral by others on their behalf. It examined their perceptions of the type of response they received from the service, the impact of being investigated, of having a assessment carried out, being involved in identifying their different needs, of genuine participation and involvement in child protection conferencing, contributing to child protection planning, being given the opportunity to review the operation of the plan, and receiving a longer term service. It also examined the degree to which children and families considered that their identified needs have been addressed.
Funding Agency Office of the Minister for Children
Type of Project
Date from 01/09/2006
Date to 31/08/2007
Person Months 24

More Research Projects>>>
Publications and Other Research Outputs
Peer Reviewed
Kathryn McGarry, Helen Buckley, Lessons on child protection: a survey of newly qualified primary level teachers in Ireland, Child Abuse Revieiw, 22, 2013, p80 - 92
Putting research evidence to work in child and family social work in, editor(s)Kenneth Burns and Deborah Lynch , Children's rights and child protection: Critical times, critical issues in Ireland, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2012, pp168 - 183, [Helen Buckley]
Helen Buckley, Using intelligence to shape reforms in child protection, Journal of Applied Social Studies, 12, (1), 2012
TARA - Full Text
Helen Buckley & Kathryn McGarry, Child Protection in Primary Schools: a contradiction in terms or a potential opportunity? , Irish Educational Studies, 30, (1), 2011, p113 - 128
Buckley, H., , Child protection and the proposed legislation: oil and water or an opportunity for positive change?, Irish Journal of Family Law, 30, (3), 2011, p57-
More Publications and Other Research Outputs >>>

Last updated 13 April 2015 Social Work & Social Policy (Email).