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Barnardos highlights three key issues for Government action in Budget 2025 to support vulnerable children and families

Spokespeople Available – 086 044 5966

Budget 2025 provides the Government with an opportunity to start fulfilling Taoiseach Simon Harris’ commitment to make Ireland a world leader in eliminating child poverty, and making sure that every child can realise their full potential.

Barnardos pre-budget submission 2025 focuses on three issues that could be quickly addressed in order to help achieve that commitment:

  1. Target income supports for low income families
  2. Cut essential costs such as school costs
  3. Improve access to supports for families

Barnardos CEO Suzanne Connolly said: ‘Families we support continue to do the utmost to provide their children with everything they need. However, many families continue to struggle to do so, often as a result of insufficient incomes and dealing with numerous adversities. Recent comments from the Taoiseach expressing a commitment to make sure this year’s budget prioritises children, particularly those facing disadvantage have been extremely welcome. Budget 2025 provides a real opportunity to address the issue of children going without essentials and living in homes in which parents are struggling. By implementing these three measures a real difference would be made to the lives of children across Ireland in the immediate term. Because childhood lasts a lifetime.’

  1. Targeted income supports – increase the Qualified Child Increase (QCI)

The Government introduced substantial targeted and universal once-off lump sum payments for families over the previous two budgets. These helped prevent some children falling into poverty. However, Barnardos recent research shows a large proportion of families still had to cut back on and go without essentials like heating, electricity and food. Budget 2025 must ensure that more families are not placed at risk of deprivation The most effective way of achieving that is through a targeted increase to the Qualified Child Increase. This would support families on lower incomes to meet essential costs. Evidence shows that meeting the needs of older children is more expensive than younger children, therefore we would like to see a minimum €5 increase for those under 12 and €10 for those over12.

  1. Cut essential costs – eliminate back to school costs

The Government must be commended on the real progress that has been made to reduce back to school costs over the past few years. The introduction of free schoolbooks for primary school children has made a huge difference, as has the extension of child benefit to 18 year olds still in secondary level education. However, many families will still face unnecessary financial pressures in the run up to the return to school this September. It is important that the government keeps the positive momentum going and extends free schoolbooks for all those in secondary schools. In addition, further steps need to be taken to eliminate voluntary contributions and ensure schools don’t burden families with costs of digital devices.

  1. Improve access to supports – expand funding for family support services

Children across the country continue to deal with adverse childhood experiences such as parental substance misuse, parental separation, domestic violence and parental mental health difficulties. Alongside this, they may be homeless or living in very poor, cramped and unsuitable accommodation. Barnardos works with thousands of children experiencing these issues every year. These can seriously impact a child’s immediate childhood and wellbeing as well as their future growth and development and life opportunities. However, quick access to intensive, therapeutic, trauma informed family support can help address these issues. Family Support Services support services help improve parenting skills and relationships, as well as general wellbeing and development of children. Increasing funding for family support, including ring-fenced money for families self-referring, will make a huge difference to the lives of tens of thousands of vulnerable children across the country, whilst reducing pressure on an overstretched care system.


Notes to editors:
Barnardos Pre Budget Submission here

For further information, please contact:
Barnardos Press Office: 086 0445966
Facebook: barnardosireland
Twitter: @Barnardos_IRL
Instagram: @barnardos_irl

About Barnardos

Barnardos’ mission is to deliver services and work with families, communities, and our partners to transform the lives of vulnerable children who are affected by adverse childhood experiences. Because childhood lasts a lifetime  

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