Children's Budget 2022
Barnardos. (2021). Children's Budget 2022. https://knowledge.barnardos.ie/handle/20.500.13085/93
Over the last 12 months, children and their families have faced great uncertainty and disruption to their lives. For some, it has compounded existing disadvantage. For others, it has presented children and parents with and forced them to confront certain adversities and challenges for the first time. Our annual Back to School Survey report found families faced considerable levels of financial concerns, isolation, lack of social support, mental health difficulties and tensions at home, particularly heightened for certain groups such as lone parents and unemployed parents. There is a risk that these adversities have had a knock on impact on children’s development and their wellbeing. As one parent said: ‘Children adapt but they also soak everything in like little sponges. They see and hear everything at home, even when we try our best to shelter them from adult conversations etc. Then they carry this with them on top of their worries & the covid anxiety.” Our survey findings echo what we have witnessed across our services. Children struggling to readjust to rules and routines, and an increase in families being referred to our services suffering a combination of mental health issues, domestic violence and addiction issues. Budget 2022 must signal hope and opportunity to children and families whose lives and wellbeing have been negatively affected by the pandemic and/or disadvantaged prior to the Covid-19 outbreak. A hope that where there is a need for help and support it will be met, that they will not have to address problems on their own. It must demonstrate that where children and families are struggling the government will provide the resources and opportunities necessary to provide a helping hand. Finances need to be committed in the Budget by Government in order to ensure this. Below we outline where we believe these resources would be best directed.