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A portrait of Sarah Duggan, a TIGALA Guardian ad Litem.

Sarah Duggan

Guardian ad Litem


Sarah has been working as a Guardian ad Litem, Court Advocate and Independent Social Worker since March 2017. Sarah is a professionally qualified Social Worker with sixteen years of academic and professional experience. She is CORU registered and a member of BPS. Sarah attends ongoing mentoring and training sessions and is committed to professional development. Sarah has completed level 1 and level 2 of Dyadic Developmental Practice (Parenting and Psychotherapy) and she is currently studying towards a Masters in Psychology. She has trained as Social Work Tutor and provided a number of student Social Work placements.

Sarah has worked as a support worker to children preparing for aftercare, a mental health support worker and disability social worker. In 2008, she began working as a child protection Social Worker, working in both Dublin and Cork.

Sarah’s direct practice experience includes conducting parenting capacity assessments, pre-birth assessments, family assessments, risk assessments, compiling comprehensive reports for presentation to the Courts, internal committees and other professionals, 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. She has a particular interest in area of trauma, the effect of trauma on a child’s development and functioning and how they can be therapeutically supported.

Sarah has Court experience, both as a Social Worker and as a Guardian ad Litem. She has prepared detailed reports and assessments for the District, Circuit and High Court and given professional evidence, demonstrating her decision-making skills in complex legal and practice areas in the delivery of a social work service. Sarah has extensive experience in explaining and reassuring children regarding the Court process, purpose, role and function, and establishing and articulating children’s wishes of varying ages and ability.


2019–Present | Masters in Psychology, University of Derby

2004–2006 | Masters in Social Work & National Qualification in Social Work, University College Cork

2001–2004 | Bachelors Degree in Social Science, University College Cork  

Further Education and Training

2019 | Dyadic Developmental Practice (Parenting and Psychotherapy) training – Level 2

2019 | Relational and Developmental Trauma training with Dr. Karen Treisman

2018 | Attachment in Child Welfare and Protection Decisions training - Prof David Shemmings

2018 | Dyadic Developmental Practice and Psychotherapy training Level 1

2017 | Keeping Children Safe Online – NSPCC

2017 | Certified Mediator Training

2017 | Mentor Forensic Training – Managing Sex Offenders

2017 | Mentor Forensic Training – Understanding Sex Offenders

2016 | Cultural Awareness Training

2016 | Immigrant Council of Ireland, Migrant Children Training & Outreach

2015–2016 | Participation in Immigration/new communities integration task group

2015 | Child & Young Person Participation & Parental participation in child protection decisions

2015 | Infant Mental Health in Social Work workshop

2015 | Attachment in the context of Child Protection Social Work

2013 | Contemporary Perspectives in Social Work Practice – Trinity College

2012 | Parental Capacity Assessments - Forensic Psychology Service

2012 | Practice teacher training

2005 | Sibshop Facilitator Training – Brothers of Charity

2005 | National Advocacy Training – Brothers of Charity

Employment History

2017–Present | Tigala – 3 The Friary, Bow Street, Dublin 7 and Penrose Wharf Business Centre, 14 Penrose Wharf, Cork. Guardian ad Litem for children involved in child care proceedings, representing children’s wishes and views and advocating for their best interests to be met. Completing Section 47 and Section 32 reports ordered by the Court in relation to family law proceedings.

2017–Present | Advocate for vulnerable adults and children engaging with services and court processes, Various locations

2017–Present | Independent Social Worker, Social Work Assessments, Various locations

2015–2017 | Child Protection Social Worker, South Lee Social Work Department, St Finbarr’s Hospital, Douglas Road, Cork.

2010–2015 | Child Protection Social Worker, Dublin South Central, Social Work Department, 21-25 Lord Edward Street, Dublin 2.

2009–2010 | Child Protection Social Worker Dublin North West Social Work Department, Park House, North Circular Road, Dublin 7

2008–2009 | Child Protection Social Worker, Dublin South Central, Social Work Department, 21-25 Lord Edward Street, Dublin 2.

2010–2017 | Practice teacher for Social Work Students from UCC, TCD and UCD.

May–Aug 2007 | Disability Social Worker, Disabililty Client Services, Department of Human Services, 71 Moreland Street, Footscray, Victoria, Australia, 3011.

2006–2007 | Mental Health Support Worker, Independent Community Living Association, 25-28 Kippax Street, Surry Hills, Sydney, Australia.

Jul–Aug 2006 | Probation and Welfare Officer, Shelton Abbey Prison, Arklow, Wicklow.

2004–2006 | Support Worker to children preparing for Aftercare, Health Service Executive, Community Services, Liberty Street House Services, 18 Liberty Street, Cork.

Experienced in conducting comprehensive evidence based assessments.

Proficient in working with children and adults of all abilities and capacities to determine their views and represent them clearly.

Qualified Mediator.

DDP (dyadic developmental practice) informed practice.

Sarah is currently studying at Masters level in Psychology. This course has furthered her knowledge in understanding learning and memory performance, cognitive and language development, childhood development and attachment, the impact of stress on people’s lives and the causes of psychological disorders.

Sarah Duggan

Guardian ad Litem

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