“Income supports for children in direct provision fall shamefully short of what is needed for just the bare minimum" – Children’s Rights Alliance
The Children’s Rights Alliance renew their call for Government to prioritise an increased child payment for children in the direct provision system in Budget 2024 as new research reveals the current supports fall short of a minimum essential standard of living.
Today (10.05.2023), the Children’s Rights Alliance convenes a panel discussion on income supports for children and families in the international protection system. The event follows a high-level panel in December with Dr Catherine Day on the commitments made to children in the Government’s White Paper to End Direct Provision.
Speaking ahead of the event, Tanya Ward, CEO of the Children’s Rights Alliance, said:
“Today we want to bring the focus to a group of children and young people who are far too often forgotten about. Despite the ongoing cost of living crisis and the detrimental impact this had on families last year, children and families living in direct provision were largely left behind in Budget 2023. Every child living in Ireland receives a €140 Child Benefit payment per month, and for families on welfare payments, they receive €42 for children under 12 years and €50 for children over 12 years per week. However, children in direct provision qualify for none of these payments and instead must get by with just €29.80 per week.”
“The White Paper to End Direct Provision was heralded as a gamechanger, to end the direct provision system as we know it now and improve the lives of the children, young people and families who have been trapped waiting and waiting for change to happen. While we acknowledge that there has been an unprecedented increase in the number of people seeking international protection in Ireland, children in the direct provision system can’t be left behind. The White Paper on Ending Direct Provision committed to introducing a payment similar to Child Benefit for children in Direct Provision. However, it’s two years since the White Paper was introduced and the Government has failed to increase income supports for children. The Government did the right thing in introducing a whole range of payments and once-off supports for families to help them keep their heads above water in Budget 2023. However, children in direct provision were ignored”.
“Life is difficult enough living in direct provision for young people particularly when families are placed in emergency facilities. Children often have nowhere to play, and young people have no privacy from their parents. Young people speak of how lonely the experience can be. Not being able to afford afterschool activities, or even the transport, for young people can mean not being able to make any friends," continued Tanya Ward.
The event, chaired by Dr Salome Mbugua, CEO of AkidWa, will include inputs from the Vincentian MESL Centre as well as personal experiences from two representatives from the Irish Refugee Council youth group and Beth, an advocate and parent with lived experience of the direct provision system. The Vincentian MESL Centre will present new research that sets out to estimate the cost of a minimum essential standard of living for children and families living in the international protection system.
Speaking in advance of the launch event, Robert Thornton, Research Manager with the MESL Centre at St Vincent de Paul said:
“The research shines a light on the minimum needs and living costs for people living in Direct Provision, taking account of the areas of need the system should provide for directly. The potential gap that remains between income supports and the cost of a life with dignity is striking.
In a situation where the majority of food and accommodation costs are being met, the income supports are so low it means that it may only meet half of the minimum essential standard of living costs for a family and falls far short from meeting the needs that enable inclusion, integration, education, participation, and ultimately for dignity.”
Tanya Ward concluded:
“There has been no increase to the payment for families in the system in the last five budgets. We now have children born in direct provision, spending their entire childhoods in emergency accommodation. It is simply not good enough that we deny them the financial support to afford the very minimum of what we as a society consider to be a decent standard of living. This new research report highlights just how important political intervention is to ensure that these children are not further left behind. The findings take into account all of the provisions we expect to the system to deliver - food, accommodation costs and yet even with these considerations, the current financial support falls shamefully short. It is deeply concerning to confront the fact that in the best –case-scenario, the support offered does not meet essential needs,”
Register to attend the online event here.
For more information/interviews contact:
Robyn at email@example.com or 085 800 1275, or Emma at firstname.lastname@example.org or 087 997 1410
Notes to Editors:
- Tanya Ward, CEO of the Children’s Rights Alliance is available for media interviews.
- Panellists are also available for media interviews.
• Read the Vincentian MESL Centre Research Paper here.
• The White Paper to End Direct Provision is available here.
• Read Tight Spaces by the Irish Refugee Council here.
For more about the youth experience of direct provison see:
• Waiting, Waiting, Waiting by Youth Work Ireland
• Direct Division by Ombudsman for Children’s Office for more on children’s views of direct provision.
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 #DPpayment