Published date: 28 Feb 2024

New Research Report offers a behind the scenes insight into how pandemic measures were introduced and their lasting impact on children and young people

The Children’s Alliance advocate for the introduction of Child Rights Impact Assessment during times of emergency

Today (28.02.2024) leading children’s advocacy organisations across Ireland will join together to mark the launch of Building Children’s Future’s: Using Children’s Rights to Recover from the Global Pandemic- a project funded by the EU commission and led by the Children’s Rights Alliance in partnership with the Department of Children Equality Disability Integration and Youth, Tusla – Ireland’s Child and Family Agency and Children and Young People’s Services Committees (CYPSC), Eurochild, UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre University of Galway, and Foróige.

The Children’s Report, published today, explores how key decisions made in Ireland during the Covid-19 pandemic impacted children’s lives. The research, conducted in part by young people themselves, interviewed 50 children and young people in addition to 13 officials who played a key part in decision making during the pandemic. It reflects on what Ireland did right and could have done differently to ensure children’s rights were protected during periods of lockdown.

Speaking ahead of the event, Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, said:

“We are delighted to join together today with our partners and youth panel to launch the Building Children’s Futures – Children’s Report. This research gives us a unique opportunity to see behind the scenes of how decisions were made during the pandemic and the impact prolonged pandemic measures had on children and young people.  It also brings into focus how we can learn from children and young people’s unique experiences of the pandemic and better protect their rights in future situations where high-stakes decisions are needed. Hearing perspectives relating to a range of areas such as health, mental health, education, early years and sports gives us a clear image of just how vast the impacts were on young people during this time. It also points to the need for practical, guiding tools for decision-makers in times of emergency that can support their intention to make the best possible decision that mitigate the risks to all members of our society while focusing on the most vulnerable groups or those that do not have a seat at the table.”

“The research launched today is an important reminder for us all to focus on recovery, with the lasting impact of the pandemic still felt by children and young people across the country.  The onset of the pandemic was an unprecedented challenge for our political leaders who had direct policy and develop solutions in the face of great uncertainty. However, when these decisions were being made, it became increasingly challenging to balance the best interests of children and young people, and ultimately, they fell down the pecking order of priorities. Without a voice at the table, young people found it was their rights that were being compromised – their right to an education, to play, to recreation, or even accessing healthcare and family were identified as the key rights by the young people involved in this project. Listening to the views of young people in this report, it is deeply worrying to see the extent of the impact these decisions had and continue to have on their mental wellbeing; anxiety and sadness are only some of the feelings expressed. For children and young people already in vulnerable and disadvantaged situations, the impact was exacerbated,” continued Tanya Ward.

“I think it changed some people [more] than others because some people could have like depression and struggle with it, and anxiety and they had to be locked in their house, can make them more depressed” (Girl, 11)

When I started going back to school my legs were killing me… I couldn’t go to my physio during Covid-19” (boy, 9)

“It is reassuring that this research found that government officials and state agencies sought to bring in the measures that ensured services and supports continued during what was a prolonged period of serious uncertainty. However, the focus on children and young people came too late and that was clearly felt and understood by children and young people themselves who feel they were never central to these decisions. The Building Children’s Futures project seeks to embed children’s rights across the decision-making and policy-making spheres through the development of Child Rights Impacts Assessments that support our leaders to make decisions in the best interest of children and young people, particularly those experiencing disadvantage. We cannot do this without the will and commitment of those in charge. The political engagement with the research demonstrates a real desire on the part of the Government to reflect on how public measures were introduced and to better understand and mitigate the impact on children and young people. It is so important that the young people involved in this project, and across the country, are given opportunities to share their views and innovate ideas because we know, that will only ever add value to how we respond to future emergencies.”

You can tune into the launch event live at 2pm Wednesday 28th February here.




For media queries contact:

Gillian Hogan: [email protected] /087 997 1410


Notes to Editors:

  • Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance is available for media interviews.
  • The online launch of The Children’s Report will be streamed live on Facebook
  • Building Children’s Futures: Building Children’s Futures: Using Children’s Rights to Recover from the Global Pandemic – The Children’s Report is available here.


About the Children’s Rights Alliance
Founded in 1995, the Children’s Rights Alliance unites 150 members working together to make Ireland one of the best places in the world to be a child. Further information is available at: or on Twitter, @ChildRightsIRL #BuildingChildrensFutures


For media queries, please contact:

Emma Archbold

Campaigns and Communications Director