ChildLinks Issue 2: Children & Loss

Barnardos. (2005). ChildLinks Issue 2: Children & Loss.
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.