Children’s Rights Alliance calls for education settings and early years services to be reopened and prioritise the most vulnerable children and children of essential workers
The Children’s Rights Alliance is calling on the Government to prioritise vulnerable, disadvantaged children, children with additional needs and children of essential workers in the discussion of reopening all education settings.
Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, Tanya Ward stated, “We cannot let this third wave lead to the closure of early years services and education settings for vulnerable children and children of frontline workers. We know from the school closures back last March that the most vulnerable children in our society paid the highest price and we simply cannot allow that to happen again. As we face into a very difficult start to the year, we are calling on the Government to prioritise the needs of vulnerable children and children with additional needs over other industries.”
“The initial school closures had a severe impact on children and young people, from the absence of socialisation with their peers, to the collapse of child protection and welfare referrals from education settings. Government needs to balance health concerns with the best interest of children when it comes to what is lost when education and early years services are closed. The child’s best interest should be the primary consideration and guide decision making in this area. To make sure that schools remain a safe environment for children and young people, resources need to be made available to support the staff working in these settings,” continued Tanya Ward.
Children with Disabilities and Additional Needs
“Parents, education settings and services reported serious regression among children with disabilities last year. Many were out of school or their centre for more than six months and will struggle to catch up. They cannot be faced with another lockdown that doesn’t consider the detrimental impact the closures can have on them,” said Tanya Ward.
Childcare for Frontline Workers
“Childcare is critical for children of frontline workers to help the country respond to Covid-19. Our frontline workers continue to meet the challenge of this pandemic head on, with rising cases having an impact on hospital staffing. The Government needs to ensure that education and childcare services remain open to provide the crucial support they do to workers in the eye of this storm.
The decision to extend the school holidays now gives Government time to plan how best to reopen settings in a manner that keeps children and staff safe but crucially, avoids any further closures. Ensuring that services have adequate resources, access to testing and are prioritised in the vaccination programme is key,” concluded Tanya Ward.
Contact: Emma Archbold Children’s Rights Alliance, Tel: 0879971410, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editor:
Tanya Ward, Chief Executive is available for interview.
Please include details of the Helpline for your readers:
Children's Rights Alliance Helpline: 01 902 0494 (reopened on 11 January)
Open Mondays 10am to 2pm, Wednesdays 2pm to 7pm and Friday 10am to 12 noon.
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.