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21 February 2018. Barnardos children's charity today launched its new LOST CHILDHOOD Campaign. 1 in 7 children in Ireland are lost to homelessness, to poverty and to neglect. The children's charity, which works with more than 15,000 families annually, wants to engage individuals, other organisations and the Government to tackle this injustice. They proposed a range of solutions that if actioned in the short-term, will change the lives of children in Ireland forever. To add your name to the campaign visit www.barnardos.ie/lost
Barnardos shared an interactive 360 degree 'LOST' film which highlights the sheer terror and panic that follows when a child is lost in a public space, and the reaction of society as they work hard to find that child. But what is society doing about the children lost in plain sight every day, those lost through no fault of their own to homelessness, to poverty, and to neglect?
Already, hundreds of supporters have joined the charity by signing up at www.barnardos.ie/lost and promising to collectively fight for these children, to challenge the Government to implement short term practical steps and finally ensure children are seen as the political priority they should be. You can add your name to the campaign at www.barnardos.ie/lost
Barnardos CEO Fergus Finlay said: "We are standing here today because enough is enough. You only need look at the thousands of children living in hotels or in overcrowded accommodation without the space they need to live, play and grow, the thousands more living in poverty, and those who are languishing on waiting lists for essential health services such as speech and language therapy and mental health services - to see that children and childhood are not a priority in Ireland. How is this ok? How do we as a country think this is ok?
"No child should worry about whether they will wake up in the same bed tomorrow as they did today. No child should feel unloved or uncared for. Where a child lives or the amount of money that their parents have should not determine a child's access to health care, pre-school, education, or protection. Yet 1 in 7 children, that's over 170,000 childhoods and futures, are being written for them through circumstances beyond their control, and because of poor policy making. We need to shine a light on the experiences of these children, highlighting this injustice at a national level and demand real solutions.
"For too long children have not been a priority politically, and childhood itself has not been valued as it should be - as the most important time of a person's life. We as a society have a responsibility to ensure every child can reach their potential. We invite you to join a community of individuals, parents, local policy makers, charities and organisations to work together to draw a line in the sand and demand change for these children.
"The practical things we are looking for, immediately, are essential public services. The cost of which is less than €250 million, and the absence of which is the reason why so many children are lost. Not the billions that are proposed to be spent on metros and motorways, just the beginnings of an investment into the future of our children."
STARTING OFF AT HOME: Ensure all children have a good start in life by introducing a dedicated child and family public health nurse system with guaranteed home visits.
QUALITY FAMILY TIME: Support all parents to be the best they can be through providing greater availability of timely community and public based family support services.
DURING PRE-SCHOOL: Guarantee all children have access to quality early childhood care and education by extending the ECCE scheme for an additional year, opening it to all two year olds.
GOING TO BIG SCHOOL: Begin to fulfil every child's right to free primary education by providing free school books to all primary school children.
BEING HEALTHY TO GROW: Fulfil every child's right to quality healthcare by providing fully staffed primary health care teams across the country at a ratio of 1 for every 1500 children.
SOMEWHERE SUITABLE TO LIVE: Guarantee that no child spends more than 6 months in emergency accommodation and substantially increase the building of social housing to provide long-term solutions for children and family experiencing homelessness.
Speaking at the launch, parent Claire Cahill said: "My son was diagnosed with scoliosis at two years of age, and it wasn't until he was seven that he received the treatment he needed. During those five years we waited, experiencing numerous delays and disappointments, his condition dramatically worsening to the point where his spine was at a 75 degree angle and his little body began to twist. He didn't grow or gain weight, and was experiencing extreme pain on a daily basis. He's been left with lifelong reduced lung capacity because of ongoing delays in getting vital surgery. My child, like so many others on waiting lists for healthcare are suffering needlessly. Childhood is short, it needs to be prioritised."
Barnardos project worker Finola McLoughlin spoke of the need to prioritise childhood: "Childhood is short, but the experiences we have in these few short years shape us for the rest of our lives. All children must be guaranteed to be able to reach their own potential. But we see daily that when a child's basic needs are not met for an extended period because of the lack of a secure home, a caring environment, developmental support or sufficient healthcare, the consequences will be felt for the rest of their life. All parents need support at different times, some more than others but we know that when parents are supported their children fare better too. It is a win win and needs to be recognised more."
Barnardos works to transform children's lives through our 40 services across Ireland through individual and group work. We provide emotional and practical supports to parents and work to provide stability to families lost to an unjust society, and we challenge that society where it fails our children. To drive the change that is needed to ensure no child is lost and give every child in Ireland a chance to reach their full potential, join Barnardos campaign at www.barnardos.ie/lost
Notes to editor:
Practical short-term solutions - the detail
STARTING OFF AT HOME
Introduce a dedicated child and family public health nurse system with guaranteed home visits
Recruit 180 nurses in 2018 = €6.6m
QUALITY FAMILY TIME
Greater availability of timely community and public based family support services
€20m in 2018
Extend ECCE scheme for an additional year, opening to all 2 year olds
€150m in 2018
GOING TO BIG SCHOOL
Provision of free school books to all primary school children
€20m in 2018
BEING HEALTHY TO GROW
Introduce fully staffed primary health care teams across the country at a ratio of 1:1500 children
€53m in 2018
SOMEWHERE SUITABLE TO LIVE
Guarantee that no child spends more than 6 months in emergency accommodation and substantially increase the building of social housing to provide long-term solutions for children and family experiencing homelessness
47,000 social housing units must be built
Total: €249.6m plus social housing building costs
 Committee on the Future of Healthcare (2017) Slaintecare Report
 Tusla Business Plan
 Dept of Children and Youth Affairs (2015) Report of Inter-Departmental Working Group: Future Investment in Childcare in Ireland
 Barnardos (2017) School Costs Survey
 Committee on the Future of Healthcare (2017) Slaintecare Report
 Department of Housing (2016) Rebuilding Ireland
1 in 7 children in Ireland are lost - the breakdown
Number of children living in poverty = 132,146 (Based on EU SILC 2016, 11.1% of children (aged 0-17) lived in consistent poverty. Using data from the 2016 census that equates to approximately 138,949 children).
**We acknowledge there will be some overlap of children in some categories, but other categories are not mentioned e.g. children experiencing hidden homelessness (which going by our project staff is very significant numbers) or children on waiting lists, or who children who left school early. Also we've tried to standardise it w ithin a similar timeframe even though we know some categories have risen such as number of children experiencing homelessness is now over 3,000. Bearing these caveats in mind, this gives total of 173,052 children or 14.5% of the entire child population (using 2016 Census data). Alternatively written as 1 in 7 children.
About the campaign
This new campaign was created by award winning Dublin creative agency Boys and Girls (www.boysandgirls.ie). It shines a light on the injustices that children in Ireland face every day and that result in childhoods being lost - lost to Child Homelessness, Child Poverty and Child Neglect. A call to action in the advertising calls on people to take notice, take responsibility and "Join the search at Barnardos.ie/Lost."
Laurence O'Byrne, Creative Director at Boys and Girls, "Children are precious. Yet as a society we are failing them. No child in Ireland should experience poverty, neglect or not have a home. This work is about getting people to stop and think about these issues and support Barnardos in changing these children's lives."
The campaign centres around a 360 video on social platforms and also includes TV, Outdoor, Press and Radio.