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A Portrait of Robbie Townsend, a TIGALA Guardian ad Litem.

Robbie Townsend

Guardian ad Litem


Robbie is a qualified Social Worker with over ten years’ experience in both Ireland and Australia. Robbie has worked as a Social Work Team Leader for Alternative Care, managing a team of eleven Social Workers and Social Care Workers. He has also worked as a Child Protection Social Worker, Duty Social Worker and Foster Care Social Worker. Robbie has also been a Social Work Practice Teacher for Social Work students

Robbie has extensive experience working with children and vulnerable young people from diverse family backgrounds with varying levels of need, ranging from Family Support to young people requiring admission to Special Care. Robbie has completed detailed assessments ranging from Child Protection risk assessments relating to neglect, physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Robbie has completed Foster Care assessments and is also experienced in utilising the Signs of Safety Framework.

Robbie has extensive court experience in both the District and Circuit Court. Robbie has also been involved in court proceedings in the High Court. Robbie led out on the standardisation of court reports across the Alternative Care team he led and supported the team to enhance the quality of court reports.

Robbie is experienced and trained in participatory work with children, ascertaining the views and wishes of the child. This work was recognised in 2021 when his team were the recipients of an Investing in Children award. This award was obtained for engaging with over forty children in relation to services in their community.

Having completed a Degree, two Masters and a wide range of training, Robbie is committed to his ongoing academic and professional development.


2015 – 2018 | MA International Development – National University of Ireland Maynooth  

2008 – 2010 | MA Social Work - University College Dublin  

2006 | Certificate in Counselling- University College Dublin

2003 – 2006 | Bachelor’s Degree in Social Science -University College Dublin  

Further Education and Training

2020 | Children First

2020 | GDPR

2020 | Non Violent Resistance Training

2019 | Karen Treisman, Trauma & the Work Place

2019 | Parental Co-creation Facilitator Training

2019 | Parents Plus Facilitator Working Things Out

2019 | Meitheal Lead Practitioner Facilitator

2019 | Meitheal Chairperson Training

2019 | Presentation & Facilitation Skills

2019 | What Works Action Learning Sets

2019 | Media & Communication Training

2019 | Parents Plus Facilitator Parenting When Separated

2018 | Parents Plus Facilitator Early Years

2018 | Parents Plus Facilitator  Children’s Programme

2018 | Tusla, Evidence Informed Practitioner Programme

2017 | Child & Youth Participation Training

2017 | The Signs of Safety Child Protection Practice Framework

2016 | Court Skills

2014 | Adolescent Sexual Offending Training

2014 | Attachment, Development &Trauma Training, Berry Street

2014 | ASSIST Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training

2014 | Cumulative Harm Training

2010 | Social Work Counselling Skills Certificate

Employment History

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

2018 – 2021 | Child and Family Support Network Coordinator – TUSLA Prevention Partnership and Family Support

2017 – 2018 | Child Protection Social Worker – TUSLA

2017 -2017 |Team Leader Alternative Care - Sligo Leitrim West Cavan TUSLA

2015 – 2017 | Fostering/Child in Care Social Worker –TUSLA

2013 – 2015 | Case Contracting Social Worker – DHHS Australia

2012 – 2013 | Advanced Child Protection Practitioner –DHHS Australia

2010 – 2012 | Child Protection Social Worker – HSE

Areas of Special Interest

Social Work in a Multicultural society- Robbie’s first Masters dissertation focused on Social Work engagement with ethnic and religious minorities with a particular focus on Social Work with the Muslim Community. Robbie has also worked in a Social Work capacity with families from diverse backgrounds, particularly in Australia. In a voluntary capacity, Robbie has worked in South Africa, Uganda and North East India.

Children’s Rights- Robbie’s second Masters dissertation focused on Parental perceptions of children’s rights in India within the framework of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Robbie is trained in the utilisation of the ‘Lundy’ participatory model. Robbie spent a number of years supporting organisations to engage in participatory work with children in order to realise the child’s right to give their opinion and share what they think. Robbie has also engaged in extensive participatory work with children in his own right.  

Parenting- Robbie was the Tusla lead for parentingin Sligo. Robbie also chaired the Parenting Support Champions group and assisted in the development of a Parenting Strategy. Robbie has extensive training in parenting programmes and is a trained facilitator.

Robbie Townsend

Guardian ad Litem

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