First 100 days of Government shows promise for children
A flurry of promising activity has marked the Irish Government’s first 100 days in office, including the publication of an action-oriented housing and homelessness plan and preparations for a Prevention and Early Intervention Unit, said Barnardos today. But this must be followed up with concrete action, the children’s charity warned.
June Tinsley, Head of Advocacy, Barnardos, said, “According to the Programme for Government, a central pillar of the plan for the ‘first 100 days’ was to establish a Prevention and Early Intervention Unit, spearheaded by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. Barnardos warmly welcomed this announcement and has fed into this process, knowing that on top of the beneficial outcome for each child, prevention and early intervention approaches can result in anywhere from a 75% to a 1,000% return on investment for the exchequer. It is truly a win-win approach and we keenly await its full establishment and implementation.
“We were also pleased to see action on housing and homelessness which is at crisis point and has to be prioritised. The targets included in the Government’s Action Plan on Housing and Homelessness are encouraging, particularly the aim to end the use of hotels as emergency accommodation for families by Summer 2017 and the introduction of free transport for families now living in emergency accommodation – which is something that has come up time and again for children and families with whom Barnardos works.
“The promised prioritisation of children in homeless accommodation within the School Completion Programme for services such as breakfast and homework clubs we hope will occur in the forthcoming academic year. We would, however, like to see this extended to children living in overcrowded and substandard accommodation and who are at risk of homelessness too.”
Ms Tinsley added “While paperwork is the first step, over the next 100 days we must see real activity and impact. Budget 2017 will be the first big test and we look forward to seeing the government backing up these 100 day pledges with clear prioritisation of children and investment in services instead of tax cuts.
“At this stage, a baby born on the day the government was formed would be alert, recognise faces and would be beginning to smile. The action of this government certainly gives cause for a tentative, if as yet toothless, smile.”