Demand for Barnardos services in Ireland increased again in 2016. According to preliminary figures, the children’s charity supported more than 12,304 children and families in the first nine months of 2016 compared with 11,718 the first nine months in 2015.
Fergus Finlay, Chief Executive Officer, Barnardos Ireland, said, “Every year Barnardos works with hundreds of families facing all manner of challenges and we worked with more families and children than ever in 2016. Among the top needs of the children with whom Barnardos worked in 2016 were support for improving family relationships, their own social-emotional development and for enhancing their health and education. It is clear to us the economic recovery isn’t being felt by all as we are supporting parents who are under huge strain to meet the needs of their children because of the absence of appropriate quality public services."
Better Outcomes policy - lifting children out of poverty
Lifting children in Ireland out of poverty is a key objective for the charity but the numbers affected have significantly increased.
Mr Finlay said: “We are a third of the way into the Government’s flagship policy framework for young people, Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures 2014-2020 but its impact is not being felt. In fact its intention to lift 70,000 children out of poverty by 2020 has had to be altered upwards to 96,000 in light of the greater number of children living in consistent poverty."
Barnardos Ireland's Head of Advocacy's comments
June Tinsley, Head of Advocacy, Barnardos, said, “This framework rightly acknowledges the holistic nature of children’s lives and has many laudable recommendations spanning the different areas of children’s lives. For instance it pledges to improving support for families, something Barnardos sees from its work as an absolute priority. Intelligent investment in this area would reap huge benefits for countless families, as well as proving cost-effective, as it would negate the need for crisis intervention at a later stage.
“It is a challenging time for thousands of families in Ireland today. While we were encouraged by some steps taken in Budget 2017 to deliver affordable childcare for all, with a focus on low income families, many children’s public services are under-resourced or absent. It is crucial that 2017 sees quicker implementation of the varied recommendations of the Government’s own framework so that children can achieve Better Outcomes and experience Brighter Futures.”
In an interview with RTE's Morning Ireland, Mr Finlay said that Barnardos would be advocating a number of programmes this year, including the introduction of a baby box for every new-born child containing essential items valued at a total of 500 euros.
Barnardos also encouraged preventative measures, such as the reintroduction of public nurse visits in the first few months of life.
Find out more about Barnardos Ireland
If you are on a low income and struggling financially, you can use the Turn2us Grants Search to find out if you might be eligible for help from a charitable fund, based on your background, circumstances and needs.
Barnardos Ireland press release: Time to Turn Aspiration into Action for Vulnerable Children in 2017
Irish Times article (3 January 2017): Number of families helped by Barnardos up 8% last year