PRIORITY ONE. Sustainable investment in family support

Sustainable investment in family support

Research commissioned by Barnardos in 2019 found that Ireland is spending an additional €6.95bn addressing preventable social problems such as obesity, drug and alcohol abuse, crime and violence against children. This is not an accident of history but the result of clear policy choices.

Early intervention, through family support, can address the lasting impact of childhood adversity enabling children and their families to build resilience, to believe in their capacities and to live with hope and positive expectations for themselves and their children. The next Government should:

  • Invest in prevention and early intervention to respond appropriately to public health issues related to childhood trauma. This includes developing a funding model that adequately and equitably funds organisations delivering Family Support services on behalf of the state.
  • Tackle waiting lists by adopting a triaging referral pathway for children requiring additional support because of a developmental delay (such as speech and language), behavioural, social and emotional needs or disability. This should focus on utilising innovative, age-appropriate holistic solutions within the community.
  • Embed intensive and individualised family support services in communities where families are trying to deal with complex and traumatic life experiences such as parental separation, addiction, domestic abuse and homelessness.