Published date: 06 Dec 2022
Government must ensure the children and families are not in freefall – says Children’s Rights Alliance at conference on the White Paper to End Direct Provision
Today (07 December 2022), the Children’s Rights Alliance is hosting a conference on the White Paper to End Direct Provision focusing on the commitments made to children and young people and how to develop them for a changed context.
Speaking in advance of today’s conference, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, Tanya Ward said,
“We have brought together some of the most prolific voices in the movement to end direct provision, we are acutely aware of the drastically different context in which today’s discussion will take place. The Alliance has tracked Government’s progress on ending direct provision for many years, most notably through our annual Report Card. We heralded the publication of the White Paper and in particular, its commitment to children and young people, as the beginning of the end of direct provision as we know it. However, the current situation facing children and families in direct provision is far from that promise.”
“The conditions for some of the children, young people and their families living in direct provision are deeply concerning to the Alliance and our members – a lack of own-door accommodation for families; cramped, shared living and sleeping spaces; children and young people being upended and moved; limited access to cooking facilities or nutritious meals. While there is an undeniable and unprecedented pressure on accommodation across the country, the lack of progress on other key commitments to children in the Government White Paper has exacerbated issues for children and young people. Unless the Government invests significantly in developing accommodation options, the Direct Provision system will go into full free fall. New targets can be met. The initiatives named in the White Paper can be implemented. We need some fresh thinking to get the promises in the White Paper over the line.”
“Children in Direct Provision were forgotten about in Budget 2023. They are at higher risk of living in consistent poverty and are also facing into a bleak winter with the current cost of living crisis. The immediate relief of the cost-of-living measures in Budget 2023 is not a feeling shared among these families. These families do not qualify for the Qualified Child Increase (a payment for children whose parents are in receipt of social welfare). For years, we have advocated for a child-benefit like payment for children living in direct provision that would help support families, particularly given current financial pressures. Yet, Budget 2023 failed to include this.”
“The Government is developing a new Implementation Plan for the White Paper on Ending Direct Provision. The Government has two years to develop a new reception system alongside housing and make sure that it does not put pressure on the existing system. We need more dedicated officials working towards this. We also need to see a major drive behind the current promises for young people in the White Paper – a child benefit type payment, funding for youth services, access to early years services and a coordinated response from local communities through the Children and Young People Services Committees nationwide.”
“Ireland has introduced reforms for children in Direct Provision before. It can again,” concluded Tanya Ward.
The conference will hear from Catherine Day, Minister Roderic O’ Gorman and an expert panel of speakers. More details are available here.
Notes to editor:
• Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance is available for interview.
• Panellists may be available on request.
• The webinar will be streamed live at 10am on the Alliance Facebook Page here.
Please include details of our Helpline:
Children’s Rights Alliance helpline: 01 902 0494
Email: [email protected]
Open Mondays and Wednesdays 10am to 4pm, and Friday 10am to 12 noon.
About the Children’s Rights Alliance
Founded in 1995, the Children’s Rights Alliance unites over 140 members working together to make Ireland one of the best places in the world to be a child. Further information is available at: www.childrensrights.ie or on Twitter, @ChildRightsIRL #EndDPConference