Barnardos mission is to help transform children’s lives through our services; support parents; and challenge society where it fails our children. Barnardos works with vulnerable children who have experienced an adverse event in their lives for which they and their parents need support, or children who are living in a challenging environment where their needs are not being met. In 2019, Barnardos embarked on a new strategic direction under the leadership of a new CEO. Our new trauma informed approach recognises that exposure to adverse childhood experiences such as inappropriate care giving, chaotic environments, unpredictable stress, persistent fear, or physical threat has a negative and defining impact on the developing brain of children damaging their emotional, social and cognitive development. Given our work to date across Ireland, we are particularly concerned about children and families in disadvantaged areas. Ellis and Dietz (2017)1 have developed a response to supporting families experiencing adversity both within their community and their family unit. Depicting this interaction as a tree2, the leaves represent the readily identifiable such as maternal depression, divorce or domestic violence. At the base of the tree the roots are shown to be anchored in poor soil depicted as community adversity such as poverty, violence or poor housing quality and affordability. This depiction is a useful way of considering the range of factors that can influence a child’s outcomes. Barnardos Children’s Budget 2020 sets out what the government must do in Budget 2020 in order to ensure that every vulnerable child:
• gets help when they need it;
• is safe, has enough food and somewhere comfortable to call home;
• has the opportunity to learn and have fun.
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