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Strengthened child protection and welfare response must be central to achieving ambitious goals for children and families
Posted on Tuesday 16 June 2020 in Press Releases
16 June 2020: Barnardos has welcomed the inclusion of investment in family support services and the expansion of parenting support programmes detailed in the Programme for Government; but warns a robust response to child protection and welfare, including a dedicated Department and Minister, must be at the centre of Government plans in relation to children if they are to achieve the ambitious and welcome goals set out in the document.
Suzanne Connolly, Barnardos CEO said: “It is most welcome that the next Government has committed to investing in family support services and parenting programmes. However, investment in these services must be mirrored by a centralised focus on child welfare and protection. The best way to ensure this is with a strong Minister and Department for children, one that is focused on their best interests, welfare and protection.
“We also welcome the retention of the free school book pilot and urge the next Government to mainstream the provision of free school books as soon as possible. Barnardos has been campaigning on the cost of school for many years and we hope this initiative marks the beginning of all children having equitable access to the learning they deserve. Commitment to developing greater protections for children online, such as establishing an Online Safety Commissioner, is important and we welcome this inclusion in the plans.
“The establishment of a Family Court system with a purpose built Family Law Court building is long overdue. We await further detail but developing such a system without the inclusion of child contact centres would reduce its impact for children and families. Another action which is long overdue is replacing Direct Provision. Barnardos welcomes the commitment to replace the current system with a not for profit model and awaits further detail on the implementation process.
“There is much to welcome in this Programme for Government, however greater detail on funding, targets and timelines are needed to truly assess its likely impact. We urge this Government not to side-line children but keep them to the fore in policy decisions throughout the lifetime of the 33rd Dáil. Having a strong Department focused on children is vital to ensuring the best outcomes for vulnerable children and families.”
For further information, please contact:
Barnardos Press Office: 01 7080442 / 086 0445966
Trudy McCarthy; 01 7080423