ALMOST ONE IN three children in Ireland are going without one or more basic necessities, according to a new study.
Research carried out by Barnardos and St Vincent de Paul shows that 30.5 per cent of children are deprived of at least one item from a list of 12 key indicators considered necessary for childhood. The list includes a warm coat in winter, a bed and bedding of their own, and three balanced meals a day.
The two charities said traditional poverty measures do not adequately reflect children’s own experience of deprivation, and the study carried out by the Children’s Research Centre at Trinity College Dublin was intended to approach the issue from a child’s perspective. It found that deprivation can be experienced by children even in relatively well-off households, with 28 per cent of kids in homes classified as ‘non-deprived’ still going without one or more items from the list of 12.
It also found that 58 per cent of children living in ‘deprived’ households had access to all 12 necessities on the list.
Fergus Finlay, CEO of Barnardos, said: “Children have spoken and what they are clearly saying to us is that poverty and deprivation mean different things to children than they do to adults. It is vital that we listen to children’s voices. If we don’t hear what they say about their experiences of poverty, then we can’t find ways to limit the impact of poverty on young lives.”
The list of necessities used in the study was compiled by interviewing a representative cross-section of children. The full list was as follows:
- Three balanced meals each day with fruit / vegetables and meat / fish
- Enough of the right clothes for different seasons, e.g. a coat to keep warm and dry in winter
- Separate bed and bedding of their own
- Their own books for reading for fun
- Food and drinks for friends when they call over to play
- Own money for school activities or days out
- A family holiday once a year (can be in Ireland or abroad)
- Day out with family at least twice a year (e.g. go to beach, fun fair, leisure centres)
- Visit to a restaurant for a family meal at least twice a year
- A bank, post office or Credit Union account to save money
- Shops close to home (e.g. food shops, clothes shops or chemist)
- A trip to the library