Sinn Féin spokesperson on Children Kathleen Funchion TD has commented on the publication of the Departments State of the Nation’s Children (SONC) Report.
The report contains deeply concerning statistics around the number of children at risk of poverty, particularly those in one parent households.
Teachta Funchion said:
“This report shows a staggering 31.8% of one parent households are at greater risk of poverty than those with two parents. This is a jump of 7.4% on 2018 figures and shows the need for targeted policies that tackle the root cause of poverty. An astounding 25,000 households were identified as being in need of social housing.
“The government seems to have no plan to tackle this problem. It must accept that it has to increase the delivery of real social housing.
“This comes against a backdrop of extraordinary hospital wait lists for children. Just over 80,000 children are on an outpatient wait list and 7,551 children are awaiting an inpatient/ day care appointment.
“The numbers of children participating in early years education are encouraging but there still remains intrinsic discrimination within the National Childcare Scheme. At present the NCS only allocates 20 subsidised hours to families whose parents are not in employment or training. This labour activation policy is hugely controversial and damaging to at risk children and particularly to children in one parent households.
“The unprecedented challenges facing children, as we emerge from Covid-19, are not insignificant. They have impacted their physical health, their mental health, fair and equitable access to education and most importantly their social outlets – their ability to play has been completely curtailed.
“This report contains a wealth of information on the social, emotional, economic and behavioural attitudes of children in Ireland. It paints a picture of a diverse, multicultural, educated and self-aware population who in many cases are presented do have autonomy over decisions made on behalf of them.”