Irish report shows refugee children need more mental health, integration and education supports

Refugee children who have fled from Syria experience considerable challenges upon arrival in Ireland and need greater support from schools youth services and communities. That is according to a report published today by Children's Rights Alliance, Eurochild member.

Eurochild’s national partner network in Ireland - the Children’s Rights Alliance - published a report today outlining the mental and educational needs of refugee children in Ireland. 

The report, ‘Safe Haven: A Study on the Needs of Refugee Children Arriving in Ireland through the Irish Refugee Protection Programme’ (IRPP) is based on consultations with 77 people including parents, children, service providers and teachers. Its findings include many forms of trauma, mental health difficulties, limited resources to meet educational needs and other challenges related to health, cultural awareness and integration. 

The report highlighted the lack of routine availability of trauma-awareness training for professionals working with refugee children. Ireland’s education response to child refugees is one of the most significant aspects of the IRPP. Schools may lack the resources they need, leading teachers to self-procure materials due to a lack of school funds. The report insists that schools need far greater capacity to meet the learning, language, and social-emotional needs of young refugees and to support them in their transition to school. 

Commenting on the report, Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, said: “Ireland has rightly promised to provide support for people fleeing war and persecution through the Irish Refugee Protection Programme. Our history of mass emigration means that we know in our hearts what it is like to arrive in a new country not knowing what the future holds… many communities have shown remarkable generosity. However, Ireland needs to provide a safe haven to a bigger group of refugee children.”

“Important steps have been taken to respond to the refugee crisis and many communities have shown remarkable generosity. However, Ireland needs to provide a safe haven to a bigger group of refugee children. Many children are waiting in Greece and the Middle East in unsafe conditions and exposed to exploitation and abuse.”

The Children’s Rights Alliance has noted recommendations which are included in the report. 

Download the report here