ItemBarnardos Children’s Budget 2024(Barnardos, 2023) BarnardosContinued cost of living increases over the past 12 months have pulled more and more children into poverty and deprivation, placed increased pressure on parents and decreased the standard of living for a significant proportion of families across the country. The longer children live in poverty and deprivation, the greater an impact it will have on their health, wellbeing, and future development. Growing up in poverty can negatively affect the entire life course of a child, limiting opportunities and making it more difficult for them to realise their full emotional, educational, and social potential. Budget 2024 must prioritise those most disadvantaged by inflation, targeting support measures at those most vulnerable. The Government must provide an appropriate safety net to ensure that all children are guaranteed a decent standard of living. Additionally the government needs to make sure that families, once they have secured sufficient finances, have the support they need to address issues in their lives. The Taoiseach stated at the National Economic Development Forum last month that child poverty and well-being would be a major theme of Budget 2024. This is alongside the establishment of the Child Poverty and Wellbeing Programme Office within the Department of the Taoiseach1. Budget 2024 must follow through on this commitment and introduce measures that will make a real difference to children facing disadvantage across Ireland, improve their standard of living and help them reach their full potential. ItemBarnardos Children’s Budget 2012(Barnardos, 2011) BarnardosBarnardos knows that the recession is having a serious impact on many children across Ireland. Recent cuts to social welfare rates, reduced working hours and increased taxes have all meant more families struggling to survive on less; less income and fewer support services in health and education. Already over 90,000 children in Ireland are living in consistent poverty, but Barnardos knows that many more are at risk. For many children this means living on poorer diets, missing their developmental milestones, suffering from more ill-health, struggling in school and increasing isolation because they are unable to participate in many activities such as going to friend’s parties, swimming and other social activities. The short-sighted savings of successive budgets are jeopardising children’s futures. Childhood is time limited; the impact of poverty is difficult to reverse and has longer lasting and more damaging effects on children than on adults. It is fundamentally unjust to ask children to shoulder any more of the burden for the economic crisis, especially those living in low income families who have no more to give. There has been much discussion about the opportunity provided by the recession to “do more with less”, to be innovative and imaginative in our approach to finding solutions to the chaos the recession has created. This does not, as yet, appear to have been applied to the way we deliver public services. With the exception of ambitious and welcome plans to restructure services for children and families, there have been few debates or innovative suggestions about how we might change our overall approach to public services. We need new systems for the 21st Century; services that are responsive, flexible and tailored to properly meet the needs of the people they serve. Barnardos believes that Budget 2012 should continue the process of change which began with the General Election 2011. Budget 2012 provides an opportunity for this Government to stand by the principles set out in the Programme for Government and make good on promises to protect the most vulnerable. Budget 2012 is about choices. Savings must be made but they cannot be made at the expense of children and families whose lives are already being made unbearably difficult by poverty and disadvantage. Budget 2012 must be about investing in Ireland’s most valuable assets: our children. ItemThis is Barnardos’ Children’s Budget 2008(Barnardos, 2007) BarnardosThe recommendations we are putting forward in the Children’s Budget 2008 stand to benefit all children living in Ireland but specifically those living in poverty. Children living in poverty need targeted income help for their families and access to basic health and education services if they are to be lifted out of this situation. That lift will only come when government, politicians and government departments, prioritise children’s wellbeing and make the necessary investment in supporting the most vulnerable families. ItemThis is Barnardos’ Children’s Budget 2007(2006) BarnardosBarnardos is putting forward a Children’s Budget for 2007. This budget submission prioritises the key factors that determine the quality of children’s lives - household income, education, medical needs and play/recreation. Adults make the decisions that impact on children’s lives and children live with the consequences – we think it’s time to put children’s interests and voices at the centre of decision-making. ItemBudget 2006: Invest in Children’s Future(Barnardos, 2005) BarnardosBudget 2006 must reduce the gap between the rich and the poor. Ireland has the 3rd highest level of poverty across 18 industrialised countries, with the richest 10% of the population having 9.7 times more wealth than the poorest 10%. It is children who suffer the most from this inequality and while childhood is time limited the effects on children experiencing poverty on daily basis last a lifetime. Barnardos recognises that eliminating child poverty necessitates policy development and investment across Departments and agencies.