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A portrait of Clodagh Henshaw, a TIGALA Guardian ad Litem

Clodagh Henshaw

Guardian ad Litem

Summary

Clodagh is a professional qualified Social Worker with over 20 years’ experience working with children and families. Clodagh commenced her career as a Social Worker in a project working with children of drug using parents. This developed her understanding of addiction, it’s impact on families and gave Clodagh the opportunity to engage in both direct individual work and group interventions with children.

Clodagh worked in Tusla from 2002 to 2021 as a Social Worker, Team Leader and Principal Social Worker across all pillars of the service. During her career in Tusla Clodagh managed various teams and lead with a child centered and creative approach. Clodagh’s knowledge and understanding of childcare legislation, standards and practices ensured that she supported her teams in providing a high-quality service to vulnerable children and families with complex needs. Clodagh’s ability to critically analyze information, collaborate with family members and professionals and listen to young people ensured that an inclusive approach was used in a meaningful way/good outcomes were achieved.

As a Social Work Practitioner at all levels Clodagh always placed the child at the centre of her decision making. Clodagh supported the teams she managed in developing positive and trusting relationships with young people. As a leader Clodagh promoted and prioritised good quality supervision and support which supported best practice and professional development for the Social Workers and Team Leaders she supervised.      

As Principal Social Worker Clodagh lead out on various service improvement and quality assurance projects with Children in Care and Fostering Teams. This included audits and the provision of learning workshops on the areas of Supervision, Care Planning, Foster Care Reviews, Serious Concerns and Allegations against Foster Carers.

Clodagh was a key member responsible for establishing the Children’s FORA in North Dublin. This included working as a group facilitator with young people. Clodagh gained enhanced knowledge and experience of using Lundy’s Model of Participation to consult with young people in foster care about areas of social work practice, including Child in Care Reviews and the recently launched Backpack Initiative. Clodagh used various tools to give this group a safe space and voice to influence social work practice.

Qualifications

2021 | Kingstown College - Advanced Diploma in Leadership, Personal & Executive Coaching

1998–2000 | University College Dublin – M. Soc Science (Social Work)

1993–1997 | University College Dublin – B. Social Science

Further Education and Training            

2021 | Children First

2021 | Child and Youth Participation

2021 | Voluntary Consent for Care: Policy & Practice Guidelines

2021 | Coaching Skills Workshops

2020–2021 | Trauma Informed Care  

2020 | Complaints Handling

2020–2018 | GDPR  

2019 | Permanency Planning Workshop

2018 | Signs of Safety

2017 | Attachment Theory: Linking to Practice

Employment History

2022–Present | Guardian ad Litem – The Independent Guardian Ad Litem Agency     

2018–2021 | TUSLA, North Dublin - Principal Social Worker

2016–2018 | TUSLA, Dublin North City – Principal Social Worker

2011–2018 | Trinity College – Fieldwork Tutor  

2004–2015 |TUSLA, Dublin North City – Team Leader

2002–2004 | Northern Area Health Board – Social Worker

2000–2002 | Ana Liffey Children’s Project – Social Worker

Areas of Special Interest

During Clodagh’s 21 years of practice, she has utilized her skills of advocacy, collaboration and clear communication to promote the needs of individual children during critical periods of their lives, including care planning, placement breakdown, allegations or concerns against foster carers, transitions to after care and to drive service change and improvement.

Clodagh has wide ranging experience of working in the District Court and High Court, including Special Care and has extensive knowledge of relevant legislation and Tusla policies.  

Clodagh prides herself on her rapport and relationship building skills. Clodagh brings compassion and empathy to all her social work interventions and her core social work values of social justice and integrity drive her practice. Clodagh practices from a solution and strengths based perspective.

Over Clodagh’s career she has worked both as Team Leader and as Principal Social Worker with a number of young people who required special care and specialist out of state care. Clodagh developed a knowledge and expertise in this area and used her highly developed communication and collaboration skills to ensure that all relevant parties’ voices were heard and that child centered care planning decisions were made.      

Due to Clodagh’s experience of managing Child in Care and Fostering Services for over17 years, she is very passionate about the importance of developing and advocating for comprehensive and child centred care planning. Clodagh feels strongly about the need for care planning to be an inclusive and collaborative process.  

Clodagh is committed to her own professional development & that of the social work profession. Clodagh recently completed an Advanced Diploma in Personal, Leadership and Executive Coaching and has been both a Practice Teacher and college tutor with Trinity College for several years.    

Clodagh Henshaw

Guardian ad Litem

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