The Club Children’s Officer is a senior position of responsibility within each Club and careful consideration should be given when selecting a person to fulfil this role. Children’s Officers are selected by the outgoing Executive and automatically takes up their role on the incoming Executive committees, and are not elected as occurs in other Officer roles.
This position is compulsory in the Club. Formerly known as the Youth Officer, the title of this post reflects the legal status of a child which in Ireland is defined as any person under the age of 18 years of age. The Children’s Officer shall have as his/her primary aim the establishment of a child and youth centred ethos within the Club and will be viewed by many as the link between the children/young people or their parents and the Club. The person chosen for this role shall have the confidence of parents, mentors and children alike as somebody that can represent the views of others and ensure that the Club acknowledges and delivers upon their responsibilities at all times.
The Club Children’s Officer shall be a person of high integrity, shall have good communicative skills and shall have knowledge as to how the Club can ensure the rights of young people are respected and maintained. It is the responsibility of the Children’s Officer to regularly report to their Club Executive or Management Committee on how Club policy and procedures and the participation of young people in the Club may be impacting on the welfare and safeguarding of under age players and their coaches/mentors.
The Club Children’s Officer should;
- Ensure, in as far as possible, that all Players, Coaches/Team mentors, Parents/Guardians, Officials and spectators adhere to the GAA Code of Best Practice for Youth Sport and Code of Behaviour
- Assist with organising the delivery of the Child protection Awareness Programme within the Club and other appropriate training in consultation with the Club’s Designated Person (see next page).
- Distribute copies of the GAA Joint Code of Behaviour at Club level and ensure that all mentors in particular sign and abide by the Code.
- Assist the Club in establising the Club Code of Best Practice Committee, which will adjudicate on breaches of the code within the Club. Club Children’s Officers do not have the responsibility to investigate or validate child protection allegations or concerns within the Club.
- Influence policy and practice within the Club in order to prioritise children’s and young people’s needs.
The liaison person appointed by the Club to deal with such concerns is the Club’s Designated Person as per the GAA Guidelines for Dealing with Allegations of Abuse (Fourth Edition). For further and more detailed information on this role within the Club, consult the Child Welfare section of the GAA website, www.gaa.ie/clubzone