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Increase in referrals to intensive family support services in 2020

Barnardos Experiences 21% increase in referrals to intensive family support services in 2020

09/06/21: During a year where Barnardos had to completely re-imagine service provision for children and families, the charity experienced a 21% increase in referrals to intensive family support services, and a further 38% increase in waiting lists.

According to Director of Children’s Services, Siobhan Greene, “Last year was one that we will not forget. Families and children needed more support, they stayed with us longer, and many families that we had previously worked with returned. Overall, we experienced a high demand on our services due to the impact of Covid. This demand has not lessened, as we start to see the longer-term impacts of the pandemic on children and families that we work with.”

Despite not being in a position to run many school based programmes due to the closure of schools, Barnardos worked with 17,918 children and families last year. Ms. Greene said, “Overnight we had to re-assess how we could provide the best possible remote services. While everything shutdown, the support and protection that children needed did not disappear, it actually increased. Many parents needed more support than before, so it was vital that we were able to keep our services running throughout and ensure that we were there for families and children during these difficult times.”

During the lockdown in 2020, Barnardos delivered over 6,300 activity packs to children, nearly 6,500 food parcels to familes and nearly 10,000 hot meals to families.

“We actively supported families to address issues which were amplified as a result of the crisis such as domestic abuse, substance misuse or mental health challenges. Many families returned to us this year asking for support, having realised that the additional pressure of Covid-19 had placed their family under additional stress and they required support from us again,” according to Ms. Greene. Barnardos has launched a new video to highlight the impact of the pandemic on families, and how the cracks appeared over the last 15 months.

The campaign video can be viewed here:


Notes to Editor:

The statistics quoted are from Barnardos services report, 2020. The full report will be released in July.
More information on the Covid19 response and campaign can be found here:
For more information for press and media please contact Barnardos Press Office:

*Spokesperson Available

Tel: 01 7080442 / 086 0445966  

[email protected] / [email protected]

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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