Ellie - Age 5

Ellie is lost to neglect. She has black hair and dark brown eyes. She spends most of her days sitting in a buggy that she grew out of years ago. Ellie’s mum is desperate to find a job and move out of their cold, damp 5th floor flat but she is struggling to manage.

Ellie’s development is far behind other children her age. While most five year olds ask a never ending stream of questions, Ellie lacks interest and refuses to engage with anyone. She doesn’t seem to know how to play, or interact with other people. She can’t walk properly. She simply keeps her head buried in to the side of her buggy every time someone tries to make eye contact with her.

The reason Ellie can’t walk properly is because she hasn’t been given the chance to walk, to run, to explore. Her mum keeps her strapped to her buggy because she thinks it keeps her safe. As a result her leg muscles and her motor skills simply haven’t been allowed to develop, and that in turn has affected every other stage of her development.

Her mum fears that her daughter will be taken from her by social services if she asks for help. She desperately loves her daughter and wants the best for her but just feels really overwhelmed and doesn’t know where to start. Her own childhood had been so blighted by horrific abuse and neglect that she simply didn’t know how to be a parent herself. It’s not that Ellie is being wilfully abused but the neglect is a symptom of her mother’s own lost childhood.

However, the real danger is that without help the impact of neglect will blight Ellie’s childhood too and the cycle won’t be broken.

In 2016 there were 47,399 child welfare and protection referrals to Tusla - The Child and Family Agency. No child should feel unloved or uncared for. Every child should be protected and be able to get help when they need it.  All parents should be supported to be the best they can be.

What is Barnardos doing?

Through working with Barnardos, Ellie will have a safe space to play, to learn and develop. In our playground her little legs will begin to work properly as she climbs the steps to the slide. The hot nutritious meal she’ll receive every day will help her grow up strong and healthy. Her mum will receive intensive emotional and practical support through our parenting work. She will learn what it really means to make a child feel safe, secure, and loved.

What can I do?

You can help us continue to support children lost to homelessness, poverty & neglect by making a donation today. No child should be lost.