Barnardos. (2005). ChildLinks Issue 2: Children & Loss. https://knowledge.barnardos.ie/handle/20.500.13085/639
The issue of child poverty is still very
prevalent in Ireland today. Although
in many cases it is hidden poverty in
that it is not as visible or public as the effects
say of the famine on the children in Niger,
nonetheless its effects can still last a lifetime.
The latest statistics from the Combat Poverty
Agency (2005) Ending Child Poverty report
reveal that 148,000 children aged 0-18 years
were living in consistent poverty in 2003 –
this represents 14.6% of all children who
were living in households with incomes
below 60% of the national median income
and experiencing enforced basic deprivation.
This equates to one in seven children living
in consistent poverty. Barnardos believes this
scale of child poverty is unacceptable given
the overall economic and employment
growth that Ireland has experienced in the
recent past. For the children themselves it
results in a loss of opportunity and a sense
of exclusion, as they are unable to
participate fully in society to the same
extent as other children.
This loss of opportunity means that
children living in poverty can experience
higher incidences of literacy difficulties, early
school leaving, poorer health and, at a later
stage, more frequent spells of unemployment.
In response to child poverty, the Government
has placed a far greater emphasis on
income support for families and less on
subsidised quality services for children.
While there has been progress in relation
to access to childcare for children from
poorer families, there are still many parents
who cannot access quality and affordable
childcare. In addition there has been
inadequate investment by the Government
in health services, primary education and
housing. Both the Combat Poverty Agency
and the National Economic and Social
Council in their report Developmental
Welfare State (2005) call for much greater
investment in public services. Also the
National Children’s Strategy (2000) prioritises
as one of its national goals that children will
receive quality supports and services.
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