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Government failing our children in areas of poverty and mental health – McLellan

23 February, 2015

Sandra McLellan, Sinn Féin TD and Spokesperson on Children’s Affairs, has expressed her disappointment that the government is falling further in important areas of the Children's Rights Alliance Report Card for the Government’s performance on issues affecting children in the state.  The Report Card has been compiled by the Children’s Rights Alliance and was delivered today.

Deputy McLellan said:

“While we welcome the progress made in the areas of Education (Literacy and Numeracy) and School Building, both of which received Grade ‘A’, I am disappointed at the regressive direction of Government input in the critical areas of Child Poverty and Mental Health. The number of children experiencing consistent poverty has doubled since the beginning of the downturn in 2008."

"The area of child poverty gets an ‘F’ grade in the Children’s Rights Alliance Report Card, the worst grade of all areas this year and a fall from last year’s ‘E-’ grade. The number of children living in consistent poverty has dramatically increased since the recession started and that it's undeniable that public policy has played a significant role in this increase. Child poverty remains not just a moral imperative, but a national scandal.

"On the topic of early childhood education, the delay in finalising the Early Years Strategy is disappointing given the publication by the DCYA of the early years advisory group report 'Right from the Start' in 2013. Delays by the government's implementation of an integrated strategy with sufficient investment are ultimately harming our children.”

 “The area of mental health receives a very disappointing ‘E’ grade, reflecting the continued and inappropriate and unnecessary use of adult in-patient facilities for children. The government is failing children with mental health needs. This is not only a violation of these children’s basic rights but will have long term consequences for the children themselves, their families and society.”

“The identification by the HSE of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services as a key Service Improvement Project for 2015 is to be welcomed. Sinn Féin will continue to monitor all Children’s Rights issues and actively support the Children’s Alliance in its valuable work.”   

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