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A portrait of Gretta Hartnett, a TIGALA Guardian Ad Litem.

Gretta Hartnett

Guardian ad Litem


Gretta is a professionally qualified Social Worker with 21 years practice experience in the area of Child Protection and Welfare Services in Ireland. Gretta has extensive experience working with vulnerable children and families both as a Social Worker, Social Work Team Leader and Acting Principal Social Worker (Tusla).  Gretta has had the benefit and challenge of working in the area of Child Protection and Welfare throughout an ever changing Child Protection landscape. Gretta remains energised and committed to the protection of children and wishes to continue to be a strong advocate for children in contact with child services.

Gretta has longstanding experience working with children in care, including foster care, residential care and Special Care. This work has involved working with children and families towards the child’s reunification home and also permanency planning for children remaining in long-term care.

Gretta has specialised training and experience assessing allegations of historical child sexual abuse with the view to identifying current risk to children. Gretta has also experienced in working with parents and families where a parent has come to the attention of authorities for accessing Online Child Abuse Material, or has admitted to having a sexual interest in children.


1997–1999 | Master’s Degree in Social Work (MSW) - University College Cork

1993–1996 | Bachelor’s Degree in Social Science (B.Soc.Sc)- University College Cork

Further Education and Training

2020 | Legal Training for Child Protection Social Workers - Online Trinity College

2019 | Understanding and assessing the protective carer in the context of CSA/Abusers, Lucy Faithful Foundation

2017 | AIM 2

2016 | Attachment Based Practice with Adults, Clarke Baim, 2016  

2015-2016 | I have completed all modules under Mentor Forensic Service which include; (Understanding Perpetrators of Sexual Crimes against Children; Comprehensive Risk Assessment  & Management of Sex Offenders in the Community; Mentor Interview Technique; Just Looking Sex Offenders use of technology and the Internet; Children & Young people experiencing and exhibiting problematic sexual behaviour; Working with Partners and Families). I have also attended courses in Emotional Abuse and Neglect, Domestic Violence, Signs of Safety.

Employment History

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

2016–2020 | Specialist Inquiry Team, Social Work Team Leader

2018–2019 | Specialist Inquiry Team, Acting PrincipalSocial Worker

2016-2019 | Chair and Co-Ordinator of National Network Learning Group for Social Workers undertaking Retrospective CSA Assessments

2002–2015 | North Lee Social WorkDepartment, Social Work Team Leader

2011–2013 | Chair for the Foster Care Committee for Cork and I was a sitting member until2015. Experience in Chairing Child Care Reviews, Professionals Meeting, ComplexCase Reviews and attendance at Child Protection Conferences and SORAM.

1999–2002 | North Lee Social WorkDepartment, Social Work

1999 | Kerry Child Protection Services, SocialWorker

Special interest in working in the area of Child Sexual Abuse, in particular evaluating the potential risk to children whereby their parent or family member has an allegation of historical child sexual abuse made against them.  

Gretta has particular interest in working with non-offending parents in terms of their ability to protect their children, with particular emphasis on working through dynamics relating to disbelief, denial and grooming.

Child Safeguarding and Safety Planning in cases of adolescents who sexually offend.

Gretta Hartnett

Guardian ad Litem

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