All TIGALA Guardians ad Litem have a minimum of 10 years’ experience working with children and families.
Our Guardians ad Litem
Our Trusted Experts
Val has been a Guardian Ad Litem, a Court Advocate and an Independent Social Worker since November 2014. Since October 2020 Val has provided individual and group mentoring to fellow TIGALA Guardians ad Litem. She also facilitates the TIGALA Training and Development programme. Val serves on the Board of Directors of EPIC (Empowering People in Care)since June 2019. Val is a Professionally Qualified Social Worker, accredited by the National Social Work Qualification Board since 2005. Val has worked in the area of Child Protection and Children in Care since 2005.
Val is a Qualified Mediator, successfully achieving the Diploma in Mediator Training with the Law Society of Ireland in 2019 and is accredited by the Mediator’s Institute of Ireland. Val has successfully completed Levels 1 and 2 of Dyadic Developmental Practice: Parenting and Psychotherapy, a trauma and attachment led approach to working with children and families.
Val has developed her forensic interviewing skills through completion of the Joint HSE / Garda Siochana Specialist Victim Interviewer training in 2011. she actively conducted interviews with children and people with intellectual disabilities who have been victim of a violent or sexual crime from 2011 to 2014.
As a Guardian ad Litem, Val has been appointed to cases in relation to; Applications under the Child Care Act 1991, Habitual Residence, Special Care, Separated Children seeking Asylum, Section 25 of the Mental Health Act 2001 and resolution of European Regulations affecting the welfare of a minor. She was appointed in cases where written judgements were received from the Supreme Court in relation to determining the best interests of a minor in proceedings under Brussels II, Article 15 and a High Court judgement relating to the role of the Guardian ad Litem.
Val worked in Tusla (formerly the HSE) from 2005 to2014 as a Social Worker and Social Work Team Leader (3 years) on both Child Protection and Children in Care cases. She also held a position on the Reach Team, a specialist Social Work team dealing with complex child protection cases.
Val is commissioned for independent fostering assessments, by a private fostering agency.
Val is a member of the IASW and NAGALRO, she attends regular events, conferences and professional mentoring and is committed to continuous professional development.
Val is registered with CORU and has full, up to date Garda clearance.
2018–2019 | Diploma in Mediator Training / Law Society of Ireland – Accredited by Mediator’s Institute of Ireland
2018–2019 | Dyadic Developmental Practice: Psychotherapy and Parenting, Level One & Two / Accredited by DDP Institute
2010–2011 | Child Specialist Interviewing / An Garda Siochana & HSE Joint Training Protocol under Section 16 1(b) of Criminal Evidence Act
2001–2005 | Bachelor of Social Studies & National Qualification in Social Work / Trinity College Dublin – Accredited by National Social Work Qualification Board
Further Education and Training
2020 - Present | Monthly Sessions / TIGALA Training and Development Programme
2018 | Working with Children who have been Sexually Abused / TIGALA
2018 | Caring for LGBT+ Children in care – conference / TIGALA
2017 | Developmental Trauma / Dr. Dan Siegel
2016 | Neuro-Psychological Assessments of Children – Dr. Cathal McAuliffe
2016 | Effective Responding to Child Sexual Abuse – Conference / TIGALA
2016 | Demystifying Attachment Seminar / TIGALA
2016 | Culturally Appropriate Planning for Children in Care - Conference/ TIGALA
2015 | Access in Childcare Proceedings / TIGALA
2014 | Development Victimology: Conceptualizing and Intervening in Crime, Violence and Abuse in the Lives of Children / Baspcan
2014 | Contemporary Perspectives in Social Work / TCD
2014 | The Alienated Child / Barnardos
2014 | Cultural Diversity Training / UCD
2020–Present | TIGALA Mentor and Training and Development Lead
2018–Present | Independent Social Worker, Origins Foster Care – Completion of Fostering Assessments
2014–Present | Guardian ad Litem – TIGALA
I have been appointed as a Guardian ad Litem in relation to the following applications:
CFA applications for Interim Care Orders and Care Orders under Section 17 and 18 of the Child Care Act 1991
CFA applications for Supervision Orders under Section 19 of the Child Care Act 1991
Applications for directions affecting the welfare of a child under Section 47 of the Child Care Act 1991
CFA applications to the High Court / Supreme Court and European Courts seeking to resolve the care arrangements for a child where there is questions around jurisdictional responsibility under the European Regulations (Brussels II) .
Separated children seeking asylum.
Sec 25 mental health. Special care orders.
Children subject to criminal proceedings.
2014–Present | Independent Family Assessor
2014-Present | Court Advocate
2012–2014 | Acting Social Work Team Leader, Child and Family Agency, Dublin South Central
2010–2012 | Professionally Qualified Social Worker, Reach Team, HSE, Dublin South City
2005-2010 | Professional Qualified Social Worker – Long Term Team, Dublin South City (excluding 2006 - engaged in educational and cultural advisory position in Asia)
2019–Present | Member of Board of Directors - EPIC (Empowering People in Care)
2020–Present | Volunteer Mediator – Community Law and Mediation
Areas of Special Interest
Children who have experienced trauma
Children with complex attachment difficulties due to adverse experiences or multiple caregivers
Children and families who struggle to engage with professionals
Children receiving in-patient treatment for Eating Disorders
Separated children seeking asylum in Ireland
Children who have been placed in Special Care