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'We're failing children': One in seven kids lost to homelessness, poverty or neglect

Barnardos wants €250 million to be invested in public services to help children in need.

Source: Barnardos Ireland/YouTube

ONE IN SEVEN children in Ireland is lost to homelessness, poverty or neglect, according to children’s charity Barnardos.

A new campaign, Lost Childhood, highlights the ways in which children can be forgotten about or neglected.

Barnardos wants €250 million to be invested to help the 173,000 children in Ireland who are living in poverty or unable to access services such as healthcare.

Speaking about the campaign on RTÉ Radio 1′s Morning Ireland, Barnardos CEO Fergus Finlay said the situation for many children has worsened in recent years.

“When I started working in Barnardos 12 year ago times were really tough and difficult, difficult for Barnardos and difficult for the people we worked with and so on, but there were no homeless children then — there are 3,000 homeless children now.

You can’t gainsay the fact that children are kind of the forgotten scandal in Ireland and what really bothers me is that we’ve been here so many times before, we been through so many generations that have said, ‘We’re never going to let this happen again.’

“We’ve seen so many scandals, we’ve seen so much hurt, so much pain. Now we’re living through another generation which is failing its children,” Finlay said.

Barnardos has proposed the following measures:

  • A dedicated child and family public health nurse system with guaranteed home visits
  • Greater availability of timely community and public-based family support services
  • Extending the Early Childhood Care and Education scheme for an additional year, opening it to all two year olds
  • Free school books to all primary school children
  • Fully staffed primary health care teams across the country, at a ratio of one for every 1,500 children
  • Guarantee that no child spends more than six months in emergency accommodation and substantially increase the building of social housing

Read: Minister says it’s ‘absolutely deadly’ that more people have availed of free dental and eye exams

Read: Dublin councillor with MS: ‘I was on a walking stick at the age of 32 … now I’m planning to run the marathon’

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Órla Ryan

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