What can Ireland do to make sure that no child suffers from a lack of food, shelter and education? The answer is – a lot.
The Government has adopted a whole-of-Government approach and 24,000 children were lifted out of consistent poverty between 2016 and 2017. The current target means the Government still has to lift 69,000 children out of consistent poverty by 2020. This has led to progress in recent years through targeted payments to families on low incomes and includes help with back-to-schools costs. There have also been increases to support asylum-seeking children living in direct provision, lone parents and for older children in their teens who are more likely to be in poverty.
Ireland has some of the highest childcare costs in Europe which eats into parents’ incomes and prevents them from entering the workforce. The introduction of the Affordable Childcare Scheme is important in giving children access to quality childcare and relieving the financial burden on parents. The Government has also been investing in community based early intervention and prevention programmes to break the cycle of disadvantage. The Area Based Childhood (ABC) Programme provides services on child health/development, learning and parenting supports. Key to their success is intervening early when there is a problem, before it spirals out of control.
But if we are going to meet the Government’s ambitious target and give every a child the chance they deserve, we need to keep the momentum going.
That’s why we are building a national conversation on what it takes to end child poverty and we want you to join us!
To keep up to date with this national conversation, visit No Child 2020.