Advocacy & Policy Reports

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    Parental Mental Health and the Impact on Children: Summary
    (Barnardos, 2024) Barnardos
    This report aims to cover the full spectrum of mental health and mental wellbeing issues that parents feel negatively impacts on their parenting and the lives of their children. As a result, we considered it important that the report does not focus exclusively on parents who have been diagnosed with a mental health illness. We commissioned Amárach to carry out a survey looking at all parents who felt they had mental health and wellbeing issues. One in five parents (20%) said they currently had poor mental health. Almost half said their mental health was ok (46%) and one third (34%) said it was good. Two-thirds (67%) of parents said that they would have, at times in the past, had worse mental health than they do at present. Generally, two thirds of parents said that at some point, they had poor mental health and wellbeing. A substantial proportion of parents reported feeling anxious, depressed and/or overwhelmed most or some of the time.
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    Parental Mental Health and the Impact on Children
    (Barnardos, 2024) Barnardos
    Over recent years there has been considerable attention on child and adolescent mental health and the lack of support available to them. However, there has been a lot less focus on parental mental health. This is despite the fact, we know from research, and from first-hand experience within our services, that children living in households with parental mental health issues can face significant disadvantage in terms of their mental wellbeing and overall development. This briefing explores the need for greater attention on this issue. If children are to thrive, it is vital they grow up in a positive and loving environment with parents responsive to their needs. When this is impaired due to parental mental health issues, support must be available to mitigate and reduce the potential harm and negative impacts on children. The briefing will set out levels of prevalence of parental mental health and wellbeing issues within Ireland, before outlining the impact it has on parents and their parenting, taken from the direct views and experiences of families who have been through the issue and the staff supporting them. It will then focus on the impact this has on children. The report outlines that many families are not in a position to deal with parental mental health issues on their own. In particular, those facing additional adversities and disadvantages, which may have been the cause of or compound mental health issues. These issues include substance misuse, domestic violence, poverty and deprivation and unsuitable and insecure accommodation. Finally, we highlight the support and recommendations parents told us they would like to see put in place in the future. The quicker families can access the support they need, the less likely parental mental health issues will negatively affect children, ultimately improving their opportunities to positively develop and grow and generally experience better quality childhoods.
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    Models of Advocacy: A Study of the Models of Advocacy and the Practice of them within International Children’s Organizations
    (Barnardos, 2002) Shea, Courtney C.
    For any organization that champions the rights of others, advocacy plays a major role in bringing about change. This report will examine what advocacy is, the different types of advocacy, and the different models of advocacy including case studies to illustrate each model, as well as how Barnardos uses these different models. The information contained in this report is based on data, statistics, and information on the advocacy practices of international children’s organizations. Finally, conclusions will be drawn about what advocacy models are best for successful advocacy.
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    The Case for Investment in Prevention and Early Intervention
    (Barnardos and others, 2010) Murphy, Candy
    Crime cannot be viewed as a social problem in isolation from deeper social and economic issues. Understanding and responding to offending behaviour is a complex issue. There is no one ‘cause’ and no single solution; consequently one-dimensional approaches are unlikely to produce results. The Irish criminal justice system is spending increasing and wasteful amounts of scarce resources with poor results in reducing crime, when modest investments in under-resourced communities would have greater positive effects in reducing offending, as well as producing wider social benefits. What Ireland needs now is long-term vision and radical and fresh thinking about this issue. We need to heed what the evidence is telling us and take a coordinated approach to tackling social exclusion. In particular, emphasis needs to shift from an almost exclusively punitive reaction to crime to one that is preventive, progressive and ultimately more effective. The review of the literature presented here makes a strong case for making the shift in resources from criminal justice to social justice, thereby creating better communities and a safer society for all.
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    Cost Of Living Crisis - Impact on Children: Summary
    (Barnardos, 2023) Barnardos
    We have produced a report highlighting the growing impact that cost of living increases are having on children across the country. It sets out findings of a nationally representative survey of parents (315) conducted by Amarach Research and also includes the voices of 30 parents currently supported through Barnardos services who participated in 1 to 1 interviews, both carried out in April this year.