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Poverty affects a child’s opportunities in life: it can affect their health, education, the kind of place they live and the food they eat. Poverty can destroy a child’s life.
Child poverty rates in Ireland doubled during the recession years and now one in every five children is at risk of poverty. This would fill Croke Park to capacity more than three times. The rate of child homelessness has nearly tripled in only three years, with many children living in sub-standard emergency accommodation.
Children in poverty are more likely to have lone parents, live in jobless households or have a parent with a disability. Homelessness, malnutrition and lack of access to education and development opportunities are other life challenges, but with effective state solutions and support these burdens can and should be lifted. Children have the right to be protected from abuse and neglect, adequate standard of living, and the right to play but too often there are systemic problems that prevent them from flourishing and developing to their full potential.
We work to analyse the Government and Department’s actions to combat child poverty on an ongoing basis, make recommendations for change and work with our members to ensure all children have the best possible chance to fulfill their potential no matter their background.
Our goals to tackle child poverty
To really tackle child poverty, we need a whole-of-Government approach with concrete actions and plans to reduce the number of children living in consistent poverty. While there has been some positive progress, much more will be needed to make a real difference to poverty levels in Ireland. Actions and events to end child poverty will be included in all areas of our work, but key goals include:
- Working through the Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures Government policy framework to drive momentum across government to meet its commitments, in particular its commitment to lift over 70,000 children out of consistent poverty by 2020.
- Encouraging the Government to child-proof the annual Budget, ensuring enough funding is committed by all Departments to support children and their families, both preventing poverty and assisting those with financial need. Investment in services can focus on universal health development services, early years education, school supports, social housing, childcare and one parent family supports.
- Meeting with political party representatives to seek commitments in their Party Manifestos and Programmes for Government (the activity blueprint written for each Government term) include critical commitments for children and young people including tackling child poverty.
We will also monitor and assess the Government’s laws, policies and actions in our work and through our annual Report Card to make sure they are taking positive steps for children to both tackle poverty as it happens, and prevent it in future. This is the best possible result for children, our society and the State.
- #ReportCard17: Right to an Adequate Standard of Living, Right to Health
- Our Child Poverty Paper details our vision for tackling child poverty.
- Read our Pre-Budget calls to Government for tackling child poverty alongside key members
- Our calls on Government to support one parent families
- Event: 2016 major Child Poverty conference
- One-pager on tackling Child Poverty from the Children’s Rights Alliance, Start Strong and NYCI
- Better Outcomes Brighter Futures: Whole of Government Approach to Tackling Child Poverty (October 2017) and a summary.
- EU Recommendation on Investing in children: Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage (2013)
- UNCRC General Comment No. 19 (2016): Public budgeting for the realization of children’s rights
- Eurochild: Childonomics Project