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Sara Reihill - Guardian Ad Litem

Sara Reihill

Guardian Ad Litem


Sara is a professionally qualified social worker with over twenty years of practice experience working in the area of child protection and welfare. More than thirteen years as a Social Worker and seven as a Team Leader. Sara has extensive experience in working with vulnerable and at-risk children and their families in the community. Sara has worked with hundreds of families as a Social Worker and also as a Team Leader predominately in the area of Children in Care and on the Duty Teams, more recently as a Team Leader on the Duty Team. Sara has chaired many multidisciplinary meetings with multiple stakeholders and has identified and advocated for many specialized services for children and their families. Sara facilitated the majority of child in care reviews on her team with children in foster care and in specialized residential services until an independent review team was established in the Cork area. One of the key objectives was to identify children in long-term foster care and to promote the concept of permanency planning, namely identifying those who would be best served by being adopted by their carers. The best interests of the child being the paramount consideration. Sara has managed a team of social workers and has ensured that a high-quality service was offered to children in care. Ensuring that standards were at a requisite high standard in line with statutory obligations, national guidelines and current polices. Implementing service improvement plans in line with H.I.Q.A Standards. Sara has managed many complex cases when there were challenges in identifying and maintaining placements. Being creative and thinking outside the box and coming up with viable workable child-centred solutions is one of Sara’s strengths.

Sara has completed risk assessments, parental capacity assessments, family support plans and reunification plans.  Sara was an ‘Out of Hours’ Manager for seven years working with the Gardai in managing sometimes extremely volatile situations with young people with challenging and aggressive behaviours. This sometimes involved spending significant periods of time (overnight) at a Tusla designated place of safety due a lack of appropriate foster or residential placements.

In the course of her work, Sara has always been motivated to achieve the best possible outcomes for children and their families. In the course of her career Sara has obtained a significant amount of care orders at Cork District Court and has given evidence at Cork Circuit Court on a few occasions. Sara has prepared Social Work Reports for the District Court, Circuit Court and for Special Care Applications to the High Court. Sara is cognizant of the ever-changing challenges facing child protection and welfare Social Workers with the prevalence of Special Emergency Arrangements due to a severe lack of appropriate foster and residential placements.

Working as an advocate for children for the last twenty plus years has been a fundamental component of Sara’s life. Sara has thoroughly enjoyed this experience and being a Team Leader, has brought many opportunities to make significant contributions to young people’s lives and quality of life. Throughout her career, Sara realized that were always different ways to achieve a specific outcome and that collaborative work between all stakeholders means a better outcome for children in care.

It has always been a core value for Sara to ensure that the voice of the child is heard and to champion their needs. In fact, building rapport with young people has been a key strength. Sara has always enjoyed the direct interaction with young people, treating them with empathy and kindness and encouraging them to find their voices and representing their needs and wishes.


1999 –2003 | Bachelor of Social Work with European Pathway Degree (2.1) – University College Cork.

1996 – 1998 | National Certificate in Applied Social Studies in Social Care – St Patrick’s College, Carlow.

Further Education and Training

Monthly Professional and Training Sessions with TIGALA.


2024 | Children’s First – TUSLA.

2023 | Assisted Decision Making – Barnardos.

2023 | Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act 2015(Commencement) Order 2023 – Office of Legal Services.

2021 | Sharing Personal Data Safely.

2019 | Attended Gender and Identity Skills Training– HSE.

2016 | Attachment Based Training with Mr. David Schemmings and Alice Cook.

2015 | Working with Young People Who Sexually Abuse: Learning, Behaviour and Attachment Problems with Kevin Creedon.

2014 | NOTA– Supporting professionals to prevent sexual abuse -  Understanding Human Sexuality in the Context of Sexually Harmful or Abusive Behaviour with Ms. Marcella Leonard; Cognition in Sexuality and Sexual Deviance with Dr Ashling Bourke  – All Hallows College, Dublin.

2013 | Diploma in General Hypnotherapy (Nicky Leesand Berenice Davey – Ballydehob).

Employment History

2024 – Present | Guardian ad Litem – The Independent Guardian Ad Litem Agency (TIGALA).   

2017 – 2024 | Child Protection & Welfare Social Work Team Leader –  TUSLA – South Lee Social Work Department, Cork.

2017 – 2024 | National Emergency Child Protection & Welfare Out of Hours Duty Manager – TUSLA.

2020 – 2022 | Parent-Mentor – Appointed by Cork Circuit Court.

2017 – 2020 | Private Access Supervisor – Appointed by Legal Representative.

2003 – 2017 | Child Protection & Welfare Social Worker–  TUSLA – North Lee Social Work Department, Cork.

2009 – 2012 | Sitting Member for the Foster Care Committee – Fostering First Ireland.

2002 – 2003 | Childcare Worker – St Joseph’s Residential Unit – TUSLA.

2001 – 2003 | Childcare Worker – Tree View House Residential – TUSLA South.

·        Legislation and Social Policy.

·        Young people with attachment-based difficulties.

·        Assessment of Family Contact.

·        Childhood Neglect.

·        Vulnerable Teens requiring residential or Special Care.


Professional Membership

Sara Reihill is registered with CORU.

Member of NAGALRO Professional Association for Children’s Guardians, Family Advisers and Independent Social Workers.

Sara Reihill

Guardian Ad Litem

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