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    Food Insecurity in Ireland: Impact on Children and their Parents
    (Barnardos, 2024) Coyne Research
    This is the 2024 Barnardos and ALDI Ireland Food Insecurity Report. The research found that food insecurity in families with children is worsening. An increasingly large proportion of children are living in homes where parents are; cutting back or going without meals themselves to feed their children; cutting down on essentials such as clothing, electricity, and heat in order to make sure enough food is on their table; and borrowing or resorting to food banks to provide themselves and their children with sufficient food. The Barnardos and ALDI research shows that even more parents are cutting back on their own food, borrowing money for food, relying on food banks, and cutting back on spending on other household activities, including clothing, household bills, medical costs and children’s activities. More parents are worried about their ability to provide their children with sufficient food, as families continue to struggle with cost-of-living pressures.
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    Online Gaming: Exploring the Pros & Cons of Gaming
    (Barnardos, 2023) Purdue, Clíodhna; McMullen, Siobhan
    Barnardos Online Safety Programme engaged with over 700 children from 3rd to 6th class, about the pros and cons of online gaming. Results show that while online gaming is a positive part of children’s lives, there is also a real need to improve safety functions. The survey was undertaken as a part of the Barnardos Online Safety Programme to help inform its work with children, parents and teachers. This September (2023) marks the final year of a five-year partnership between Google.org and Barnardos to deliver online safety workshops across the country reaching over 79,000 children to date. The focus groups and survey results indicate that there are both benefits and potential harms in children playing games online.
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    An Exploration of Practitioners’ Experiences of Delivering Digital Social Care Interventions to Children and Families During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Mixed Methods Study
    (JMIR Publications, 2023) Hickey, Grainne; Dunne, Claire; Maguire, Lauren; McCarthy, Naimh
    Background: Digital technology is an increasing feature of social care practice, and its use has accelerated greatly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Objective: This study aimed to assess social care practitioners’ experiences of delivering digital interventions to vulnerable children and families during the pandemic. Methods: A mixed methods study combining survey and qualitative research was conducted. In total, 102 social care practitioners working in the Republic of Ireland who delivered a range of digital social care support took part in a web-based survey. This survey captured practitioners’ engagement and experiences of delivering digital social care interventions to children and families as well as training and capacity building needs. Subsequently, 19 focus groups with 106 social care practitioners working with children and families were also conducted. These focus groups were directed by a topic guide and explored in more depth practitioners’ perceptions of digital social care practice, the perceived impact of digital technology on their work with children and families, and the future application of digital social care interventions. Results: The survey findings revealed that 52.9% (54/102) and 45.1% (46/102) of practitioners, respectively, felt “confident” and “comfortable” engaging in digital service delivery. The vast majority of practitioners (93/102, 91.2%) identified maintaining connection during the pandemic as a benefit of digital social care practice; approximately three-quarters of practitioners (74/102, 72.5%) felt that digital social care practice offered service users “increased access and flexibility”; however, a similar proportion of practitioners (70/102, 68.6%) identified inadequate home environments (eg, lack of privacy) during service provision as a barrier to digital social care practice. More than half of the practitioners (54/102, 52.9%) identified poor Wi-Fi or device access as a challenge to child and family engagement with digital social care. In total, 68.6% (70/102) of practitioners felt that they needed further training on the use of digital platforms for service delivery. Thematic analysis of qualitative (focus group) data revealed 3 overarching themes: perceived advantages and disadvantages for service users, practitioners’ challenges in working with children and families through digital technologies, and practitioners’ personal challenges and training needs. Conclusions: These findings shed light on practitioners’ experiences of delivering digital child and family social care services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Both benefits and challenges within the delivery of digital social care support as well as conflicting findings across the experiences of practitioners were identified. The implications of these findings for the development of therapeutic practitioner–service user relationships through digital practice as well as confidentiality and safeguarding are discussed. Training and support needs for the future implementation of digital social care interventions are also outlined.
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    Understanding the Needs of Children: A Study of Needs and their Determinants in Limerick and Thurles
    (Barnardos, 2007) McKeown, Kieran; Haase, Trutz
    Full report whose specific objectives are to Identify risk and protective factors present in the lives of children attending Barnardos services in Limerick and Thurles and a representative sample of children living in Limerick city across the following domains: living situation; family and social relationships; social and anti-social behaviour; physical and mental health; and education and training • Investigate the type and level of need among each individual group of children and critically analyse these need groups • Identify common need groups among each of the three cohorts of children and critically analyse these need groups • Explore each group of children and families use of services in the Limerick city and/or Thurles area as appropriate • Compare needs analysis findings from each of the three groupings of children against the domains listed above and against each other
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    All you Need is..Measuring Children's Perceptions and Experiences of Deprivation
    (Barnardos, 2011) Swords, Lorraine; Greene, Sheila; Boyd, Eimear; Kerrins, Liz
    Poverty is a heavy burden to carry in childhood. Statistics show that the numbers of children and adolescents living at risk of poverty or in consistent poverty in Ireland have risen in recent years. These statistics are brought to life by reports from service providers such as Barnardos and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul that tell how children are going to school hungry or are excluded from the normal activities of childhood like attending birthday parties or going on their school tour due to the costs involved. Research tells us that such deprivation negatively impacts upon the well-being, health and development of children and the adults they will become. It casts long shadows forward, condemning some children to “recurrent poverty spells or even a life full of hardship”. The cumulative effects of the inequities experienced are a particularly worrying feature of childhood poverty.