CGI's National Executive Board came together on Saturday to launch their new child-friendly Safeguarding cards for their youth members. The initiative has been greeted very positively by the ISPCC, with Caroline O'Sullivan, Director of Services ISPCC, saying, "We would like to commend the Catholic Guides of Ireland ( CGI) with regard to their new 'Safety Bookmark' initiative. It's very positive to see the CGI take such proactive steps to reach out to their Youth Members, reminding them that no matter what they are going through or feeling that there are adults there to listen and support them if they ever need it."
Summing up the feelings of all at CGI, while speaking at the launch, Chief Commissioner Cecilia Browne said, "It is important, as a youth organisation, for CGI to ensure that our members know where to access support services available to them. By producing these handy information cards, we hope that not only CGI members, but many young people, will know where there are various places to go for support and that someone will listen to them when they are going through difficult times."
CGI have always been cognisant of their responsibilities towards their youth members and to this end all adult members of CGI (who are all volunteers) are Garda vetted and must undergo Child Protection Awareness training; guidelines have been developed for all adult leaders, and leaflets detailing the various processes are distributed to parents.
However, the one area that Barbara Ryan, Development Commissioner, felt that as a child-centred organisation was perhaps being overlooked, was the children themselves. Ms Ryan explains; "We wanted to produce something that the children themselves could refer to if they felt they needed to speak to someone about a problem they were experiencing. So with this in mind, we designed bookmarks and cards for the girls with information of who to contact if they need to talk to someone; we also got input from the girls too. And I think you will agree that the design is both attractive and gives straightforward information to the user."
In the coming weeks these safeguarding cards will be distributed to all members of CGI throughout the entire island of Ireland, North and South. Then, the next phase is to offer them for distribution in places frequented by young people such as schools, youth clubs etc.