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A portrait of Francis O'Callaghan, a TIGALA Guardian ad Litem.

Francis O'Callaghan

Guardian ad Litem


Francis is a professionally qualified Social Worker who has worked for more than ten years in Child Protection and Fostering Teams in Social Work and Team Manager Capacities. His direct practice experience includes conducting assessments in relation to allegations of child abuse and neglect, and undertaking Parenting Assessments, Risk Assessments and Fostering Assessments.  He has prepared detailed reports and assessments for the District, Circuit and High Court arenas, and also for internal Tusla committees and other professionals. As a Team Manager he was responsible for the day to day management and provision of a Social Work service for a private fostering agency, supervising a large Social Work team, and ensuring the provision of a high quality service to children in care in accordance with all standards, policies and legislation. He has also been a member of a Tusla Foster Care Committee, ensuring the ongoing compliance with relevant Standards and legislation in the recruitment, assessment and approval of foster carers in Ireland.

Francis has extensive experience of supporting foster carers and children in care. As a qualified trainer in Therapeutic Crisis Intervention for Families, he has trained numerous foster carers and professionals in crisis intervention techniques to help them support the children in their care and to de-escalate crises in a safe manner. A key strength on which he relies, is his ability to communicate and build rapport with children and young people. He is highly skilled in terms of engaging with children to ensure that their wishes and feelings are known by the professionals responsible for their wellbeing.


2019–2018 | Certificate in Management Practice. 1st Class Honours – University College Cork    

2015 | Certified Trainer in Therapeutic Crisis Intervention for Families. Bronfenbrenner Centre, Cornell University

2010–2008 | MSW in Social Work. 1stClass Honours – University of Portsmouth                              

2007–2004 | BSocSc in Social Science. 2.1 Honours Degree – University College Dublin

Further Education and Training

2020 | Practice Teacher Training – Trinity College Dublin

2020 | Sensory Integration

2020 | Parenting with PACE

2020 | Management Development

2020 | Virtual Reality Trauma Training

2020 | Children First Training

2019 | Person Brain Training

2019 | Parenting Children with Anxiety related Behaviours

2019 | Analysis in Report Writing

2019 | Complaints

2019 | Signs of Safety

2018 | Health Assessments for People with Intellectual Disabilities

2018 |  Twelve Core Concepts of Trauma

2018 | Complexity of Trauma

2018 | Suicidality and Self-Harm

2018 | Advanced Attachment for Carers                    

Employment History

2021–Present | Guardian ad Litem – The Independent Guardian Ad Litem Agency  

2020–2020 | Social Work Team Manager – Fostering First Ireland

2013–2020 | Link Social Worker –Fostering First Ireland

2010–2013 | Duty Social Worker –Health Service Executive, Dublin South Central

Effectively working with children and families who struggle to engage with professionals

The impact of developmental trauma and attachment difficulties as a result of adverse experiences or multiple placement moves

Child and Adolescent Mental Health

Non-accidental injury in children

Care planning for children in foster and residential care, including access and reunification planning

Working with children and adults who have been subject to Ward of Court proceedings

Francis O'Callaghan

Guardian ad Litem

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