FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
19 July 2016
The Children’s Rights Alliance today welcomed measures for children and families included in the Government’s Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness.
Commenting on ‘Rebuilding Ireland’, Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance said today that:
“The number of children and families experiencing homelessness is staggering and the use of emergency accommodation will continue until new housing comes on stream. The Plan takes account of this reality and signifies the increasing involvement of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and Tusla (Child and Family Agency) in addressing the impact of homelessness on children. This is a very welcome development and the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs and her Department are to be commended for putting a range of new measures in place, including:
- an initiative to introduce Dedicated Child Support workers to support vulnerable children;
- proposing solutions to address food poverty issues experienced by children and families;
- providing free public transport;
- providing access to crèches and pre-school services;
- prioritising homeless children in School Completion Programmes for breakfast and homework clubs;
- providing additional resources to help with school attendance.
The Plan also pledges more beds (although no mention of figures) for women and children seeking domestic refuge. This is welcome because we know that 4,831 requests for domestic violence accommodation could not be met in 2014. Additional capital funding is also pledged to cater for young people leaving care.
In terms of the welfare concerns regarding emergency accommodation for children, the Plan commits to introducing a safety guidance/voluntary code for child safety. This is a step in the right direction. However, this won’t address the fact that some accommodation currently being relied upon to accommodate homeless children and families may not be suitable. It’s important that the Government also commits to conducting an audit to assess the suitability of emergency accommodation currently in use for children and families.
For further comment, please call: 087 653 1069.