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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 and has been working as a Guardian ad Litem since 2021.  As a Guardian ad Litem, Robbie has been appointed by a number of District courts across Ireland to children and young people in the care of Tusla, across a diverse range of ages and backgrounds. Robbie has also completed Section 32 and Section 47 reports for private family law proceedings, in addition to Section 20 reports, on behalf of Tusla. Robbie has also assisted the District Court under mental health legislation and Wardship.

Prior to this Robbie had 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 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. Robbie is also a regular guest lecturer with the Atlantic Technological University.


2023 – Ongoing | Specialist Diploma in Developmental Trauma - The Greenane Centre

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

2021 – Present | Monthly Professional and Training Sessions with TIGALA

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 Chair person 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 AppliedSuicide 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. Ina 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 parenting in 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.

Volunteer Experience

September 2017 – September 2018 | UCD Volunteer Organisation Team Leaderfor India Programme

January 2010 – May 2010 | Medical Social Work Intern in GrooteSchuur, Cape Town, South Africa

September 2007 – November 2007 | AIDS Outreach Worker in CODEAPS,Uganda

Robbie Townsend

Guardian ad Litem

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