11 May 2016
Wednesday, 11 May 2016: For immediate release
Children’s Rights Alliance Condemns Proposals to Link School Attendance to Child Benefit in the Programme for Government
The Children’s Rights Alliance today responded to the publication of ‘A Programme for a Partnership Government’, in particular, the proposal that school attendance should be linked to Child Benefit. The document says the Government will “reform the monitoring of child benefit payments by amalgamating the two existing school attendance monitoring systems, currently run by the Department of Education and Tusla, to address poor attendance within some families”.
Responding today, Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance said: “This is a daft proposal that would seriously undermine the rights of children. Child Benefit is a universal payment designed to help families with the cost of caring for their children. It should in no way be used as a tool to punish parents and families. In practice, it would indirectly lead to school principals actually making decisions on who gets Child Benefit.
We are bewildered as to why this proposal has been included in the Programme for Government. What is the rationale for it? The Minister for Social Protection, Dr Leo Varadkar TD and the Government needs to address this concern as a matter of urgency.”
For further information and media queries please contact:
Emma McKinley, Communications and Development Manager
Tel: (01) 662 9400 / 087 6559067
Notes to Editor
• A Programme for a Partnership Government is available at http://www.merrionstreet.ie/MerrionStreet/en/ImageLibrary/Programme_for_Partnership_Government.pdf
• The Children’s Rights Alliance is currently analysing A Programme for a Partnership Government from a children’s perspective and will circulate its views in the coming days.