“Today’s report by the Ombudsman for Children includes testimonies from children about life in family hubs that are utterly heart-breaking. This state-sponsored institutionalisation of children and young people is a national scandal.”

The Social Democrats Spokeswoman for Children, Cllr Jennifer Whitmore, today supported the call for an independent evaluation of family hubs, saying housing authorities are desensitised to the devastating impact of homelessness on children and families.

Greystones District Cllr Whitmore said:

“Today’s report by the Ombudsman for Children includes testimonies from children about life in family hubs that are utterly heart-breaking. This state-sponsored institutionalisation of children and young people is a national scandal. Huge emotional damage is being done to children and their families.

“Some 900 children are living in 26 family hubs, most of them in Dublin, while in total we have nearly 4,000 homeless children in our State.  I am deeply concerned that the authorities, and the Dublin Regional Housing Executive in particular, are desensitised to the fact that this problem is not just about numbers. It’s about the daily and long-term wellbeing of children and families including the social, emotional and psychological impact of them of living in such inappropriate conditions for long periods of time.

“It’s just not acceptable that we are exposing our children to conditions where they lack basic privacy and security and feel such shame, guilt and anger. This report by the Ombudsman has to spur the government into action to build homes for families. In the meantime, I fully support the Ombudsman’s call for national standards, an independent inspection mechanism, and a full-scale formal evaluation system. The government also needs to urgently tackle barriers in our Constitution when it comes to providing housing to serve the common good.”

ENDS

18th  April 2019