This new Government has taken office at what is undoubtedly one of the most challenging periods in recent history. For children, this is a critical time with much uncertainty; but with the right budgetary allocation it could also be a time of hope and opportunity. Barnardos’ Children’s Budget sets out how, with targeted investment in evidenced based services and supports, this Government could change the course of vulnerable children’s lives. The pandemic restrictions have been hard on children, particularly vulnerable children who are often without the same support structures and relationships available to other children. The coming months and years are likely to bring a recession the scale of which we do not yet know. We do know children bore the brunt of the last recession. Child poverty doubled and vital services and social welfare supports were cut; many children are still living with the
consequences today.1 This time we are prepared and must not be found wanting. We have the benefit of experience and the knowledge that with the right investment all children can thrive. It is welcome that the Programme for Government – Our Shared Future focuses on investment rather than austerity as a response to the latest economic downturn; but the absence of austerity is not enough. The children Barnardos works with were already living with fear, uncertainty, educational disadvantage and poor access to health services before the pandemic began. For them, we must strive for more than a ‘return to normal life’. We
believe the Government can do this by investing in evidence based programmes and services designed to recognise and respond to trauma and reduce childhood adversity. Our Children’s Budget recommendations are informed by our experience and expertise in working with vulnerable and at risk children and families. They set out a blueprint for what the new Government must do to reduce the impact of trauma and ensure a brighter future for vulnerable children.
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