Jennifer Whitmore TD

The Children’s Rights Alliance Report Card 2024 shows that the State is failing to deliver on key child welfare commitments contained in the Programme for Government, according to Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore.

Deputy Whitmore, who is the party’s spokesperson on children, said:

“The report card, published today, offers a bleak assessment of the Government’s performance in a number of areas.

“When it comes to children’s mental health, the Government has been awarded a derisory E grade. This reflects the continued practice of admitting children to adult psychiatric units and the worrying rise in waiting lists for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) – which currently stands at around 4,000.

“According to the report, an E grade is unacceptable and is due to the Government taking steps in the wrong direction, with no positive impact on children.

“The Government didn’t do much better in the family homelessness category, just managing to scrape a D- grade. This is against the backdrop of almost 4,000 children living in homeless emergency accommodation.

“This is deeply concerning as we know the serious damage that homelessness can have on a child’s mental and physical health, as well as their development.

“In addition, Government efforts to end direct provision only received a D grade. The report said that increased pressure on International Protection Accommodation Services (IPAS) and the war in Ukraine have resulted in a deterioration of standards for children and young people seeking asylum.

“The Taoiseach has previously stated that he wants Ireland to be the best country in Europe to be a child. However, the Children’s Rights Alliance report shows that the Government still has a considerable distance left to travel before such an aspiration can be achieved.”

February 20, 2024

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