All TIGALA Guardians ad Litem have a minimum of 10 years’ experience working with children and families.
Our Guardians ad Litem
Our Trusted Experts
Karen is a Professionally Qualified Social Worker with 23 years’ experience working in the field of child protection, children in care and family support services.
In 1997 Karen was employed by the health board as a social worker carrying a mixed caseload of child protection, children in care and was also part of a regular duty roster.
In 1999 Karen was employed by the health board as a social worker in the crises intervention team , which provides emergency out of hours social work response to homeless children aged 12 -17 years.
In 2001 Karen was employed by the HSE as a social worker on a long term child protection and children in care team holding a mixed caseload.
In 2004 Karen was promoted to senior social work practitioner and commenced work as community development social worker. As part of this role Karen was required to be the interface with various HSE funded services such as family centres and community crèches. Karen assisted in the development of service level agreements between various voluntary and community groups and the HSE on behalf of the General Manager.
In 2005 Karen took up employment as a team leader with Barnardo’s Family Welfare Conference (FWC) Service in the northeast. This is an innovative family led approach to child protection and welfare issues.
In 2011 Karen took up employment with Tusla/ HSE as a team leader on the child protection team in Drogheda, Co Louth where Karen remained until joining TIGALA in August 2016.
Karen has extensive Court experience, both as a Social Worker and as a Social Work Team Leader. Karen have prepared detailed reports and assessments for the District, Circuit and High Court and given professional evidence on an ongoing basis for over 20years. This experience has allowed her to demonstrate her ability to assess and evidence difficult decisions surrounding complex child protection and welfare issues.
Karen’s direct practice experience includes conducting parenting capacity assessments, full family assessments, risk assessments, compiling comprehensive reports for presentation to the Courts, managing a mixed caseload of children in care, children at risk in the community, children in residential care, including Special Care, High Support and therapeutic placements and conducting investigations into allegations of child abuse, including sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse and neglect.
1991–1994 | Bachelor of Social Science UCD, Dublin
1997–2000 | Bachelor of Social Studies / National Qualification in Social Work, Trinity College Dublin
2007 | Certificate in Mediation, Mediation Institute of Ireland, University College Maynooth
2018 | Dyadic Developmental Practice: Psychotherapy and Parenting, Level 1, Accredited by DDP Institute
2019 | Dyadic Developmental Practice: Psychotherapy and Parenting, Level 2, Accredited by DDP Institute
1997–2004 | Various Social Work roles
2005 | Team leader Family Welfare Conference service, Barnardos
2010 | Senior Practitioner, Tusla
2011–2016 | Social Work Team Leader, Tusla
2016–Present | Guardian Ad Litem, The Independent Guardian Ad Litem
Areas of Special Interest
Karen has developed particular expertise in cases involving very young babies involved in complex child protection.
Karen also has extensive experience in working with ethnic minorities including unaccompanied minors.
Karen has a particular interest in working with cases with parents with mental health and disability issues.
Karen time spent with Barnardo’s allowing her to further develop skills of empowerment and this model of work (FWC) in particular allowed her to develop mediation skills. A skill which she have found invaluable while dealing with complex child protection cases.