Irish Government is failing to deliver on its commitment to youth mental health
Eurochild Irish member Children’s Rights Alliance publishes its annual Report Card 2023
Report Card 2023 is the third analysis of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party’s joint Programme for Government: Our Shared Future and how it performed for children in 2022. The Children’s Rights Alliance monitors 16 promises to children and young people and has rated the Government on its efforts in 2022.
Speaking to the latest Report Card analysis, Tanya Ward, Eurochild Vice-President and Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, said:
“While there was significant progress made in some Government commitments made to children and young people, including Child Safety Online (A), Early Childhood Education and Care (B+) and Free School Books (B), the persistent lack of action and progress on commitments to some of the most marginalised and vulnerable children in the State has resulted in deepening inequalities.”
"In September 2022, there were a staggering 4,100 children waiting on their first appointment with CAMHS, almost double the figure from the same period the previous year. The fact that very vulnerable children and young people have not been able to access an initial appointment is deeply concerning. On top of this, we continue to see children and young people admitted to adult psychiatric facilities to receive the care they should be receiving in an environment built and designed to support their needs."
Another area of concern: Family Homelessness
In December 2022, there were 1,594 families and 3,442 children experiencing homelessness. There was an increase in the total number of people living in emergency accommodation every month of 2022. Without significant changes, there is a concern that the housing crisis will continue to deny more and more children of a decent childhood.
The Government has made positive progress in the following areas:
- Child Safety Online (A Grade): Government’s work in 2022 on the commitment to better protect children and young people online was recognised with the highest grade. The new Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill was signed into law in December 2022. The legislation includes provisions for the establishment of an Online Safety Commissioner and critically, an individual complaints mechanism, welcoming a new era of regulation and accountability for big tech and online services.
- Pathways for Undocumented Children (B+ Grade): January 2022 saw the commencement of the scheme to regularise the status of undocumented people living in Ireland. Over the course of a six-month period, 8,311 people applied for the scheme. The scheme marked an important breakthrough however, it was limited and more sustainable pathways for the regularisation of undocumented children must be brought forward.
- Reform of Early Childhood Education and Care (B+ Grade): There was clear progress in this area with the advancement of key recommendations with substantial action in areas of quality outcomes, supporting staff retention and reducing the costs for parents. Other significant developments include the investment of €1 billion in Budget 2023, five years ahead of schedule, moving Ireland forward when compared to other European countries who invest to sustain a public service model of early childhood education and care. However, further action is now needed to develop targeted supports for children experiencing disadvantage.