THE GOVERNMENT HAS been given a ‘C Grade’ in the Children’s Rights Alliance’s report card for 2013 – a slight drop from its C+ last year.
The Children’s Rights Alliance commented:
In a year that saw a Children’s Rights Referendum and key work in overhauling the child protection system, the grade will disappoint many.
This year, their annual report card scrutinises the Government on its promises to children that were made in the Programme for Government 2011-2016.
Top of the class
The Department of Children and Youth Affairs, under the direction of Minister Frances Fitzgerald, gained an A grade for strengthening children’s constitutional rights and an overall B- grade for steps to better protect children from abuse and neglect.
An additional win is a B+ grade for the promised closure of St Patrick’s Institution – up from an F grade last year.
Minister Ruairi Quinn and the Department of Education and Skills both receive an overall B- grade for solid progress, particularly in literacy, patronage and school buildings, said the Alliance.
The report card puts the Department of Social Protection at the ‘bottom of the class’, giving it an F grade – a fail– for child poverty.
The Department of Health received an overall D grade for its work in Health, with the Alliance saying there is an under-spend in Mental Health, inaction on alcohol misuse and delays in Primary Care and the Children’s Hospital.
Overall, Government has failed to support migrant or Traveller children or to address family inequalities, resulting in an overall E+ grade.
Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, said:
Report Card 2013 is a mixed bag. Overall, Government has done worse this year, slipping down to a C grade, despite getting an A grade for the excellent work in strengthening children’s rights in the Constitution. There is also real progress in child protection, ending the detention of children in St Patrick’s Prison and in education. But children are the real losers in Budget 2013 with cuts to Child Benefit not being reinvested in children’s services and controversies and underspend in health leading to major delays in health reform.
Ward said that implementation of mental health policy requires immediate redress, and the under-spend in funds needs to be addressed.
The full report will be available on the Alliance website today.