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A portrait of Elaine Finneran, a TIGALA Guardian ad Litem.

Elaine Finneran

Guardian ad Litem


Elaine is a professional qualified social worker who graduated from University College Galway with a Master’s in Social Work in June 2007. She has over eighteen years’ experience in the field of child protection, child welfare and social care.

Starting her professional career as a social care worker working in Leak and Watts residential Unit a homeless and runaway youth service for 16-21 year old’s, Lefroy House homeless service for children aged 12-18 year old’s and  Keltoi drug rehabilitation unit enabled her to have good understanding of addiction, after care and complex needs of children in care. This gave her the opportunity to engage in both direct and group work with young adults and children.  Elaine worked as a social worker for 10 years and as a Senior Social Worker / Social Work Team Leader in child protection/children in care for five years. She has also previously worked in Adoption and Disability services.

Over that time Elaine has gained extensive knowledge and skills in direct work with vulnerable children and families.  She has managed mixed caseload of children in care, children in the community, children in residential care. She has worked with children at risk, drug and substance misuse, child and adolescent mental health, parenting assessments, family welfare conferencing.

Elaine has significant experience in the district and high court including special care and broad knowledge of relevant legislation and policies. She has prepared detailed reports and assessment for the district court and high court on an ongoing basis for over 16 years. This experience has allowed her to demonstrate her decision-making skills in complex legal and practice issues in all areas of Child Protection.

She has conducted investigations into allegations of child abuse and completed comprehensive risk assessment, pre-birth assessments and managed complex children in care placements and family reunification plans. Elaine has contributed to the development of child protection services through supporting the implemented of Signs of Safety as an approach and model in day to day practice and completed training and workshops on the implementing of Signs of Safety model.

Elaine has an aim to ensure that young people and children are safe, their rights protected, and their care plans regularly reviewed. Elaine strives to work in a collaborative and creative way to ensure the best outcomes for children and families and keep her work up to date with relevant policies and procedures. Elaine takes direct responsibility for defined caseload, in particular cases that require a high level of experience and expertise, always ensuring anti-discriminatory practice and culture competence, at individual and service levels.

Elaine has been a practice teacher and attends on going mentoring and training sessions and is committed to professional development. In her career in Tusla Elaine managed various teams and ensured the provision of a high-quality service to children in care and families in accordance with standards, policies and legislation. Elaine remains dedicated and committed to working with children and families and places the child at the center of decision making process. Elaine is registered with CORU and full Garda Clearance.


2005 – 2007 | National University of Ireland –Galway (NIUG) – Master in Social Work

2000 – 2004 | Sligo Institute of Technology – Degree in Applied Social Studies

Further Education and Training

Elaine engages in ongoing training and development  with a focus on training in area of developmental trauma and attachment. Elaine is currently completing a Specialist Diploma in Developmental Trauma, this is accredited by Irish Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy.

2023 – 2024 (ongoing)| Specialist Diploma in Developmental Trauma / The Greenane Centre - Accredited by Irish Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy | Specialist Diploma in Developmental Trauma / The Greenane Centre - Accredited by Irish Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy

2022 – Present | Monthly Sessions / TIGALA Training and Development Program

2022 | Children First

2019 | Domestic Violence

2019 | Child Neglect Workshop

2018 | Safeguarding and Safety Planning

2015 | The Legal Briefing Seminar: Signs of Safety Assessment Training

Employment History

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

2022 – Present | Independent Guardian Ad Litem in District Courts and the High Court. Completing Section 32 and 47 reports. Acting as an advocate for parents involved in childcare proceedings

2022 – Present | Independent Social Worker for High Court Wardship proceedings

2018 – 2022 | TUSLA, Airside Industrial State Swords, Dublin – Social Work Team Leader 

2012 – 2017 | TUSLA, Airside Industrial State Swords, Dublin – Acting Team Leader/Senior Social Worker

2006 – 2011 | TUSLA, Airside Industrial State Swords, Dublin – Student Social Worker/Social Worker

2006 – 2007 | St. Michael’s House , Swords, Dublin – Social Care Worker

2006 (12 weeks) | HSE, Adoption Services, Galway –Student Social Worker

2003 (12 weeks) | Leak and Watts Residential Unit, Transitional Independent Living ,  New York – Student Social Worker

Elaine has gained extensive knowledge and skills in direct work with vulnerable children and families. During Elaine’s years of practice, she has applied her skills of support, collaboration and strong communication to promote needs of individual children during significant period of their live.  Elaine is a skilled professional who believes in working with and in close partnership with professionals, parents and others involved in the best interest of the child. She is passionate about building good relationships and brings empathy and understanding to all social work involvement. Elaine has vast experience of working directly with children in care, children in the community and those being reunified back to their families. 

Elaine has particular interest in working with:

·       Parents with mental health difficulties;

·       Children in special care;

·       Children receiving treatment for Eating Disorders;

·       Attachment and developmental trauma;

·       Access and reunification planning for children in care;

·       Childhood neglect cases.

Volunteer Experience

Volunteer in Kensington, South Africa in 2002

Professional Membership 

Elaine is registered with CORU

Member of NAGALRO Professional Association for Children’s Guardians, Family Advisers and Independent Social Workers

Elaine Finneran

Guardian ad Litem

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