Dublin: Children’s Charity BARNARDO’S Wants Vulnerable Children Protected: UPDATED

8 Feb

Every child in the country is paying €11,000 to bail out the banks, according to Barnardos.

 Children - Number living in consistent poverty increases by half
Children – Number living in consistent poverty increases by half
Every child in the country is paying €11,000 to bail out the banks, according to Barnardos.

The children’s charity has called on politicians to get serious about protecting the most vulnerable of those children.

And it has criticised the election campaign for being obsessed with the banks and the IMF and urged those involved to turn their attention to social concerns.

At Barnardos’ election manifesto launch, its Head of Advocacy, Norah Gibbons, said the past two years had seen the number of children living in consistent poverty increase by half.

In other words, the number who do not have basic necessities like a warm coat or the equivalent of a roast each week could now fill the Aviva Stadium twice over she observed.

Ms Gibbons said that many employed people rightly complained that their incomes and house values had declined and that they found it difficult to pay their bills.

But she said families which depended on welfare could not reduce their bills either, and that they were forced by December’s Budget to rely more on moneylenders who charge exorbitant interest rates.

She said pharmacists were helping increasing numbers of people who came to them for help because they cannot afford to pay for a doctor’s visit.

Barnardos is calling on political parties to commit to maintaining social welfare rates and Child Benefit and to increase them as soon as resources allow.

It also wants them to undertake to increase the Qualified Child Allowance, which is paid in respect of the children of welfare recipients. It urges that more of the working poor should qualify for an improved Family Income Supplement.

NEWS UPDATE:

A drastic change is needed to radically overhaul child welfare and protection systems, a leading charity has warned. Skip related content

Barnardos demanded disadvantaged children were protected from further cuts during the economic crisis.

It also called for the incoming Government to set up a new Department of Social Care which would be accountable for services at Cabinet level.

Norah Gibbons, director of advocacy, said the last Budget pushed children and families already living on the breadline to the brink.

“We know that there are children going hungry in Ireland,” she said.

“We know that there are families living in homes without heat or light. We know that families reliant on social welfare and low incomes are getting into debt with moneylenders that they can never hope to get out of.”

Launching Barnardos’ children’s manifesto and priority issues for Election 2011, chief executive Fergus Finlay said savings must not be made at the expense of children’s childhoods and futures.

He maintained reform was urgently needed to overhaul an overstretched and under resourced care and protection service for children at risk of harm.

“It is clear to anyone working with children and families in need of welfare and protection services that major reform of the systems in place is long overdue,” said Mr Finlay.

“We need to ensure that social care services are accountable at the highest level of Government.”

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