All TIGALA Guardians ad Litem have a minimum of 10 years’ experience working with children and families.
Our Guardians ad Litem
Our Trusted Experts
Joanna has been working directly with children and families for the past 21 years and in this time has had the opportunity to work across a number of areas and gain valuable experience. Joanna understands the importance of empathy and compassion when working with people at the most challenging times in their lives and applies this to her practice.
Joanna began her career as a Social Care Worker. This role involved working directly with and caring for children who were in care. Joanna began her career as a Social Worker in 2008 when she took up a short term position with the Probation Service. In this time, Joanna gained valuable experience preparing succinct and coherent Court Reports.
Joanna moved to a community based role in 2008 whereby she trained in delivering “The Incredible Years” parenting programme. Joanna also trained during this time to deliver other group programmes designed for parents and young people.
Joanna worked as a Fostering Social Worker. Joanna’s role was to support and supervise fostering families who were caring for young people. This role gave Joanna extensive experience in assessing foster placements. It also involved ensuring a commitment to providing a quality service for the young people in receipt of this care.
Joanna began her role as an Advocacy Officer in EPIC in 2012. During her time in the role Joanna advocated for children and adults with care experience across a variety of settings and services. This very important role has given Joanna invaluable experience in advocacy and participation for people who need support in having their voices heard.
Joanna joined Tusla as a Social Worker in 2016. In her time with the agency she has been promoted to Senior Practitioner and Team Leader Roles within the Children in Care Teams. Joanna has continued her direct work with children throughout her roles which has been of vital importance to her. Joanna has worked with and been involved in planning for children across a range of care settings using a signs of safety approach and ensuring that a collaborative and inclusive approach is at the heart of all plans. Joanna has also worked as an Out of Hours Social Worker on an emergency panel since 2020.
2006 –2008 | MA Social Work, Trinity College Dublin.
2004 –2006 | BA(ORD) Social Care, Institute Technology Blanchardstown.
Further Education and Training
Joanna has attended all TUSLA mandated training such as Children's First, GDPR, Complaints Handling, Signs of Safety and is CORU registered. Joanna has extensive training throughout her 21-year career - please see below significant training that informs her practice.
2021 | Therapeutic work with children and young people suffering child sexual abuse and exploitation
2021 | Adverse Childhood Experiences and Early Trauma
2021 | Voluntary Care in Ireland
2018 | Circle of Security Practitioner Training
2018 | Practice Teacher Masterclass with Siobhan Maclean
2017 | Therapeutic Care and understanding early trauma (joint workshop fostering/ Social Work)
2017 | Understanding Domestic Violence
2015 | ASIST training
2015 | Understanding Self Harm
2014 | Mindfulness facilitation for children and young people
2008 | Incredible Years facilitator training
2008 | Parents Plus facilitator training
2008 | Coping Power facilitator training
2005 | Life Story Work with Children
2001 | Certificate in Counselling Skills, University of Ireland, Maynooth.
2021 –Present | Guardian Ad Litem – The Independent Guardian Ad Litem Agency
2020 –2021 | TUSLA Social Work Team Leader, Dublin 9
2020 –2020 | TUSLA Senior Social Work Practitioner, Dublin 9
2016 –2020 | TUSLA Social Worker, Dublin 9
2012 –2016 | EPIC - Advocacy Officer, Dublin 7
2010 –2012 | Fostering First Ireland, Dublin 8 – Link Social Worker
2009 –2010 | Barnardos Preschool Project, Roselawn Health Centre
2008 –2009 | Archways- Programme Facilitator, Dublin 22
2000 –2008 | HSE -Social Care Worker, Ballymun
Areas of Special Interest
Joanna has developed key skills in communicating with and supporting hard to reach young people who are engaging in risk taking behaviour.
Joanna has extensive experience working with young people who are in Special Care.
Joanna's experience in EPIC has developed a very high standard of advocacy, participation and in ensuring voices are heard across all aspects of the Child Protection system in Ireland.
Joanna has a keen interest in understanding and supporting children and young who have experienced trauma and to support them to develop resilience in adverse situations.
Joanna can engage with and support children and adults across a myriad of crisis situations as a direct result of her experience in EPIC and as a worker in both the Out of Hours Service and on the Children in Care team.