Children's Budget 2013

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Barnardos. (2012). Children's Budget 2013.
There is little doubt that the recession has taken its toll on families across Ireland in recent years. All families, with few exceptions, have struggled with the impact of increasingly stretched incomes. However, there are many families for whom the consequences of recession are profound. There are families who are living daily with levels of deprivation that should not be acceptable to any of us in what remains a relatively well off nation. Despite the enormous challenges facing Ireland, and the complexity of the issues involved, Barnardos believes that budget decisions continue to reflect political decisions that focus on targeting the most at risk members of society. This is reflected in figures that show that 1 in 10 people are experiencing food poverty, with those most at risk including those groups who have been most adversely affected by recent budget cuts: unemployed people; low income households; people with disabilities or poor health; people with low education; families with more than three children under 18; and lone parents. The scale of the challenge facing the State in Budget 2013 is not to be underestimated. However, the continued pursuance of cuts that disproportionately affect vulnerable children and families while huge amounts are funnelled into bank repayments undermines the notion that Ireland is a fair and just society. A broader approach to tackling the fiscal crisis must be sought. Austerity is simply not working, and it is especially not working for Ireland’s children. Alternatives to this approach must be examined and priorities refocused to ensure the protection of children. Alternatives include reform of current systems to eliminate poverty traps and support parents in employment while making sure that children have access to quality support services. They include supporting children’s education by making it affordable for parents and making sure that children who need it have access to support. And they include a more holistic approach to service provision that is underpinned by the best interests of children.