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A portrait of Margaret Fennell, a TIGALA Guardian ad Litem.

Margaret Fennell

Guardian ad Litem


Margaret has been a Guardian Ad Litem, a Court Advocate, and Independent Social Worker since 2017. Prior to this Margaret gained 12 years’ experience working in the field Child Protection, Child Welfare, Fostering and Children in Care in Scotland (Glasgow City Counsel) and Ireland (HSE and Tusla).

Margaret holds Qualifications in Social Care and Social Work and a Bachelor of Science in Behavioural Science (Psychology). Margaret recently completed Level 1 in Theraplay. She is fully Garda Vetted and registered with Coru.

Margaret has extensive Court experience as a Social Worker, Margaret prepared detailed reports and assessments for District and High Court and gave professional evidence on an ongoing basis for 12 years. This experience allowed her to demonstrate her decision-making skills in complex legal and practice issues within Child Protection. As a result, Margaret has expert knowledge of the roles and responsibilities of statutory and voluntary agencies and of relevant legislation in Scotland and Ireland.

Her direct Social Work Practice experience includes conducting Parenting Capacity Assessments, Family Assessments, Risk Assessments for presentation of Court, Panels, Conferences and Internal Committee’s, and Professionals. Margaret managed a mixed case load of children at risk in the community, children in care, including special care and therapeutic placements. She conducted investigations into allegations of child abuse including emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect.

In recent years Margaret has worked as an Independent consultant representing the voice of children involved in Court Proceedings. Margaret has extensive experience of working with children directly within Social Care, Social Work and voluntary settings and works in a child-centred manner. Margaret has been appointed to cases in relation to applications under the Child Care Act 1991, The Mental Health Act 1991 and Wardship and provided detailed reports for the District, Circuit and High Court.


1996–1998 | National Diploma in Caring Services at Whitehall College, Dublin.

1998–2002 | Bachelor of Science in Behavioural Science (Psychology) at University of Abertay Dundee, Scotland.

2002–2004 | Diploma in Social Work (postgraduate). 2004. University of Dundee, Scotland.

2007 | Approved by the National Social Work Qualification Board. Margaret is fully registered with the Social Workers Registration Board, CORU and is also a registered Social Work Practice Teacher with Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin.

Further Education and Training

2020 | Special Care, Relevant Legislation and Practicalities / Conor Fottrell

2020 | Article 42A – The Child Care (Amendment) Bill 2019 and the Voice of the Child Following Government Formation / Lewis Mooney

2020 | Promoting Contact for Children in Care / Kim Wilson and Gary Irwin

2020 | Interim Care order with evolving Social Distance Requirements and Covid Virus / Gareth Noble

2019 | Level 1 – Theraplay

2018 | Working with Children who have been Sexually Abused /Tigala

2018 | Member of the Practice Guide Working Group, Co-ordinator and Presenter at Getting it Right, Caring for Children in care from the LGBTI+ Community Conference

2017 | Developmental Trauma / Dr. Dan Siegal

2017 | Getting it Right, Proportionality, timeliness and decision making in childcare proceedings / Barnardo’s

2017 | Signs of Safety/ Tusla

Margaret engages in ongoing training in areas of Attachment, infant mental health, trauma, and Neurodevelopment.

Employment History

1997–1998 | Respite Care Assistant to young people and Elderly with disabilities, Wings fellowship, England

2000–2001 | Children’s befriending Service, Rainbows, Dundee, Scotland

2002–2004 | Agency Care Assistant, working within a range of nursing home and private homes within the Tayside Area, Able Care, Dundee Scotland

2003 | Tayside Association for the Deaf; Social Work Department, Dundee, Scotland

2004 | Crisis Residential Centre, Dundee City Council, Dundee, Scotland

2004–2007 | Professionally Qualified Social Worker; Glasgow City Council, Govan Early Intervention Team (Child Protection)

2008–2016 | Professionally Qualified Social Worker; HSE / Tusla; Louth Child Protection Team

2016– 2017 | Professionally Qualified Social Worker with Tusla at Kildare Children in Care Team

2017–Present | Guardian Ad Litem with The Independent Guardian Ad Litem Agency , Court Advocate, Independent Social Worker

Areas of Special Interest

Pre-birth assessments, parenting capacity assessments, family assessments, risk assessments.

Experience with mixed caseload of children in care, children at risk in the community, children in residential care, including, Special Care and therapeutic placements and conducting investigation into allegations of child abuse, including sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect.

Experienced report writer.

Diligent, flexible, and self-motivated.

Proficient problem solving and analytical skills.

Excellent personal and verbal communication skills.

Margaret Fennell

Guardian ad Litem

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