Barnardos. (2018). Barnardos Annual Report and Financial Statements 2017. https://knowledge.barnardos.ie/handle/20.500.13085/272
To a child, poverty is like punishment for a crime you didn’t commit and we have over 138,000 children being punished by consistent poverty in our country today. To add to this, each month during 2017 the number of homeless children grew – up to a record of over 3,000 children homeless by the end of the year. It is a complex problem with no simple solution and it is easier
to focus on looking after our own and closing our eyes to a sense of collective responsibility. Barnardos core work is delivering
community based services tailored to meet the needs of children and their parents across a range of disadvantaged communities. In my work with Barnardos, I have been struck by the number of building blocks of children’s development and wellbeing that are affected by factors beyond their control such as the family they were born into or where they live. Children are being born into a lottery that is stacked against them, and into situations over which they have no control. And all too frequently, we see outcomes for children that prove they are not a political priority and childhood is not generally valued. Yet it does not need to be this way. As our economy recovers, we need to remember that the economy in itself is not autonomous and the dimensions of society, politics,
morality and social relations must all be given attention in any assessment of how the economy works. So the next time you hear politicians offering you tax cuts to garner your vote, you might remember the lack of adequate investment in services for children and act accordingly. In Barnardos, we have an overarching ambition of an Ireland where every child’s potential is nurtured and where childhood is valued by everyone. During 2017, we embarked on a new strategic plan setting out our long term vision and goals for children in Ireland and, more immediately, the priority areas we will focus on for 2017-2021. Barnardos cannot do this alone. The challenge will be to engage individuals, other organisations and the State in our mission to ensure that all of our children have the opportunity to reach their full potential. And they can. Ireland is a rich enough country to ensure that no child has to do without the basic necessities to help them grow and thrive. That’s our demand and our challenge to our country.
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