All TIGALA Guardians ad Litem have a minimum of 10 years’ experience working with children and families.
Our Guardians ad Litem
Our Trusted Experts
Suzanne is a professionally qualified Social Worker with 16 years of experience working in the field of child protection, child welfare, fostering and family support. Suzanne has worked on both long-term Child Protection and Children in Care Teams. Suzanne has experience as a Social Work Team Leader and Acting Principle Social Worker dealing with children at risk in the community and children in care with complex needs.
Suzanne has extensive Court experience both as a Guardian and as a Social Work Team Leader. She has prepared detailed reports and assessments for the District, Circuit and High Court and given professional evidence on an on-going basis for over 16years. This experience has allowed her to demonstrate her decision-making skills in complex legal and practice issues in the area of child protection. Suzanne has worked in two jurisdictions during her career to date, and this has expanded her experience and knowledge in this field.
Suzanne is competent in carrying out comprehensive family assessments, parenting capacity assessments, risk assessments, case file reviews and practice audits.
Suzanne has experience working with the PSNI conducting joint protocol investigations into allegations of child abuse, including sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse and neglect. Suzanne's approach in her social work practice has demonstrated an ability to ensure that at all times the voice of the child remains at the centre of practice and that the appropriate resources are in place to support the child. Suzanne works in a child-centred manner, aiming to include and ensure that the child is involved in decisions affecting them and that their wishes and feelings are heard.
Suzanne is registered with CORU with full Garda clearance.
2000 | BSc (Hons) in Social Care, Sligo IT
2005 | Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work, University of Ulster
Further Education and Training
Communicating with young people who have been sexually abused.
Meaning of the Child Training with Dr. Ben Grey and Ms. Juliet Kavastan.
The Healing Power of Play, Supporting Children to Heal from Trauma.
Narrative Training – Dr. William Coman.
DDP level 1Training, Kim Goulding.
Child Specialist Interviewing, PSNI.
Legal training in relation to the Child Care Act, 1991, The Children's Act 2001 and Children's First.
Supervisee training, Tusla.
People Management: The Legal Framework, Tusla.
Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.
Children first Certificate.
Assessing Men in Child protection contexts who sexually abuse.
Practice teacher training, UCD.
Working with cultural diversity.
2018- Present | Independent Guardian ad Litem appointed to Mental Health cases under Section 25 of the Mental Health Act
2018–Present | Independent Social Worker for High Court Wardship proceedings
2016–2017 | Acting Principal Social Worker Alternative Care, TUSLA Sligo, Leitrim, West Cavan
2013–2016 | Child Protection Team Leader, TUSLA, Dublin North Central
2009–2013 | Child Protection Social Worker, HSE, Dublin North Central
2009 | Senior Social Work Practitioner, Western Health and Social Care Trust Northern Ireland, Child Protection, Fermanagh
2005–2009 | Social Work Practitioner Child Protection, Western Health and Social Care Trust Northern Ireland, Fermanagh
2003–2004 | Women’s Aid, Child Care Worker, Fermanagh
Areas of Special Interest
Working with children who are experiencing attachment difficulties due to adverse childhood experiences or as a result of multiple caregivers.
Experienced in pre-birth assessments, initial assessments, further assessments, parenting capacity assessments, family assessments and investigations into allegations of abuse.
Childhood neglect cases.
Parental Intellectual disability in child protection.
Non-accidental injury in children.
Experienced in managing cases of childhood sexual abuse, children who exhibit sexually harmful behaviours or sexually abuse.
Working with children and their families where drug and alcohol misuse is a feature.
Mental Health issues in child protection and family welfare.
Children who have been placed in Special Care.
Working with children and adults who have been subject to Ward of Court proceedings.