15 Dec 2016
Childcare for Homeless Children – Stopgap Towards Addressing Rights
The Children’s Rights Alliance has welcomed an announcement by the Minster for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone to provide free childcare for homeless children aged 0-5. The Department of Children and Youth Affairs will work closely with Focus Ireland to identify eligible families.
Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance: “For those who are homeless, this initiative will provide a much-needed opportunity for children. It will also provide critical respite and support for families, who are too often living in dire and unacceptable conditions. We look forward to this funding commitment being translated into reality for children.
We know that most children living in homeless accommodation are younger children. Yet, these children do not have access to play facilities and are unable to develop at a basic level. We have heard heart-breaking stories of children who cannot learn to walk because of a lack of space. In his recent Report to the Oireachtas, the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection, Prof. Geoffrey Shannon spotlighted the fact that homeless children right to play is being violated, which is having a serious developmental impact on them. In addition to these developmental challenges, even basic hygiene needs are often not being met.
Today’s announcement will help support childhood by providing children with a safe, child-appropriate, developmental space for 25 hours a week, 50 weeks of the year.
Good food is the cornerstone of a healthy childhood so we are pleased that this initiative will provide children with a nutritious meal during the day. This will help to address the current situation where families living in hotel rooms cannot store or cook their own food, which is also negatively impacting on children’s health.
The Children’s Rights Alliance commends Minister Zappone and her officials for introducing this programme as part of the Government’s commitment in Rebuilding Ireland, the national housing strategy. The bottom line here is that no child should ever be homeless. While this is a welcome stopgap, ultimately, the State must provide secure, affordable accommodation for children and families in their own communities.”
For further information, please contact:
Emma McKinley, Communications & Development Manager
01 662 9400 / 087 655 9067
Note for Editors
• Tanya Ward, Chief Executive is available for interview