Wednesday, 13 June 2018
Children’s Rights Alliance Echoes Ombudsman for Children’s Call for Independent Inspectorate for Direct Provision
The Children’s Rights Alliance has responded to the publication by Dr. Niall Muldoon, the Ombudsman for Children of his 2017 Annual Report. In particular, the Alliance has welcomed calls by the Ombudsman to establish an independent inspectorate of Direct Provision centres that house asylum seeking families.
Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance commenting today said: “Right now, most children and families in the Direct Provision system are living in centres that don’t adhere to any standards. Accommodation and living conditions can vary hugely. Some are grim – entire families in one room, with not enough space to play or do homework and no privacy. Children can’t enjoy normal family life and are prevented from enjoying a happy and safe childhood.
It is not surprising that the Ombudsman for Children found significant variations in the quality of accommodation and services provided to children and families across Direct Provision centres. It is welcome that National Standards for Direct Provision are being developed that every accommodation centre will have to comply with, similar to the kinds of standards that must be upheld in other places like nursing homes and residential centres for persons with disabilities.
The development of standards is one crucial step forward, but without an independent inspectorate undertaking unannounced inspections, they will lack the necessary oversight and transparency to achieve meaningful change. We can’t have a system in place where companies providing centres/accommodation for children and families are not publicly accountable.
Given that the majority of Direct Provision centres are contracted to private providers, it is essential that where standards are not met residents have access to a redress mechanism to hold the State to account. The fact that Direct Provision residents have come forward and made complaints to the Office of the Ombudsman for Children’s about their interaction with services is positive. Providing a similar avenue of redress in relation to the quality of their accommodation would go a long way to transforming and radically improving the system.”
Contact: Emma McKinley Tel: 01-6629400 / 087 6559067, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to Editor:
• Tanya Ward is available for interview.
About the Children’s Rights Alliance
Founded in 1995, the Children’s Rights Alliance unites over 100 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