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No child’s access to early years supports, health-care or education should be determined by how much money their parents have or where they live.
Thousands of children in Ireland are forced to endure lengthy waits for essential health services.
Childhood is a time of rapid development, timely assessments and treatments are crucial to a child’s development. Unfortunately, too many children’s health, wellbeing and overall development is being compromised because of our insufficient and at times non-responsive public health system. There are stark inequities in our public health system that must be addressed.
Barnardos regularly monitors waiting list data and the impact of lengthy waits on children and families, particularly in the areas of Speech and Language and Mental Health services.
Barnardos is calling on the Government and Minister for Health to act now to stop more childhoods being wasted.
We're delighted that over 5,600 campaigners took action and signed our letter to the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, calling on him to be more proactive in tackling the waiting lists for core public health services for children, specifically in the areas of Speech and Language, Mental Health services and Disability Assessments. We will submit this letter to him in early January and continue to lobby for improvements to Ireland’s public health service so no child’s health is compromised because of where they live or their household income.
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The first few years of a child’s life are the most critical in terms of development and learning. The experiences children have during this time lay the foundation for the rest of their childhood and for the adults they will become. Supporting parents in their role is crucial to improving outcomes for children, central to this is encouraging and facilitating a nurturing relationship between parent and infant.
Quality care and education helps even the youngest children develop important life skills such as communication, social skills, how to maintain friendships and how to navigate rules and boundaries. Ensuring universal access to affordable and quality early childcare and education would give all children the best possible start in life.