Who’s the Club’s “Children’s Officer”? What on earth is one of those?

Peter Blackwood & Cathy Hallam - your club's Children's officers

Peter Blackwood and Cathy Hallam are the current Children’s Officer of the Club. The Club Secretary David Miller is additionally qualified as a Children’s Officer. Peter can be contacted on 086 603 5423 and Cathy can be contacted on 086 885 3553.

The Children’s Officers represents the ‘voice of the children’ in the Club.

The appointment of Club Children’s Officers is an essential element in the creation of a quality atmosphere in any club. They act as a resource to members with regard to children’s issues and also ensure that children have a voice in the running of the club and can freely talk of their experiences. All clubs are required to have a Children’s Officer in place and appropriate training will be made available to them through the FAI in conjunction with the Local Sports Partnerships and The Irish Sports Council. All affiliated Clubs and Leagues are required to appoint Children’s Officers.

The Children’s Officer should have the following functions:

  • To promote the FAI’s Code of Ethics & Good Practice
  • To influence policy and practice and to prioritise children’s needs
  • To ensure that children know how and whom they can report their concerns to within the club. Information disclosed by a child should be dealt with in accordance with the Department of Health and Children’s Guidelines “Children First”
  • To encourage the participation of parents/guardians in club activities
  • To co-operate with parents to ensure that each child enjoys his/her participation in soccer
  • To act as a resource with regard to best practice in children’s soccer
  • To report regularly to the Club Management Committee
  • To monitor changes in membership and follow up any unusual dropout, absenteeism or club transfers by children or coach/volunteers

Children’s Officers do not have the responsibility of investigating or validating child protection concerns within the club and have no counselling or therapeutic role. This responsibility lies with the Health Boards and Gardai.

A guide to Roles and Responsibilities for the Children’s Officer

Q: Who is the Children’s Officer responsible to?

A: The Main Committee.

Q: Who is the Children’s Officer responsible for?

A: The voice of the children in the Club.

Q: What is the role of the Children’s Officer?

A: To represent the children in the Club, to highlight areas where improvements can be made, to ensure that the children’s welfare is kept always to the fore of the Club.

Q: What sort of tasks are involved?

A: Tasks will include:

• Attending Children’s Officers sub-committee meetings every 4-6 weeks and minuting same.

• Reporting their views and those of the children back to the Club through the committee.

• Advising the Committee on all issues around improving children’s welfare.

Q: How much time does the Children’s Officer give to the job?

A: Several hours per month plus a sub-committee meeting approximately every 4-6 weeks.

 Q: What else can you tell me about the Children’s Officer‘s job?

A: The role of the Children’s Officer is one of the most important in the Club. They represent the voice of the child and their job is to help ensure that the Club has a child-focussed emphasis at all times, and to ensure that the voice of the child is not lost in the wilderness of the Club trying to achieve footballing success. In a well run club today the Children’s Officer should have significant influence, and a competent Committee should be open to taking on board and implementing changes recommended by the Children’s Officer where such changes are for the benefit of the children in the club.