Barnardos Welcomes New Child Poverty and Wellbeing Unit in the Office of the Taoiseach
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At Barnardos we know first-hand that childhood lasts a lifetime. The longer a child spends in poverty the bigger an impact it has on their future health and wellbeing. The commitment made by the Taoiseach to ensure the best start in life for every child and establishing a new unit in the office of the Taoiseach to achieve this is exceptionally welcome.
Addressing child poverty and pulling families out of deprivation through coordinated action across multiple government departments could make a huge difference to the lives of thousands of children experiencing disadvantage across the country.
Currently, too many children, particularly those in one-parent families, are living in households struggling to provide daily essentials including heat, electricity and food. Going without daily necessities can greatly affect these children’s health, wellbeing, and future prospects.
The constant financial pressures in these households can at times lead to or exacerbate other issues such as parental mental health and affect their ability to focus on parenting.
The commitment from the Taoiseach to bring the cost of living under control and look at the challenges families face in relation to particular the cost of energy, childcare and education is extremely timely. We know these costs can pull families into financial difficulties. Steps such as that set out in budget 2023 to provide free schoolbooks to all primary school children will make a big difference to families.
A unit that looks to build on these measures, across government departments, and consistently prevent families being pulled into deprivation could give tens of thousands of children a better start and potentially provide a better future. We look forward to seeing the full details in due course.