Children’s charity campaign to aid one in seven children who are ‘lost’

Barnardos say one in seven Irish children are lost to homelessness, poverty or neglect

Barnardos children's charity has launched a campaign aimed at the children in Ireland it claims are lost to homelessness, poverty or neglect.

It says its Lost Childhood campaign is aimed at one in seven children in Ireland.

It calculates the ratio based on the number of children in consistent poverty according to the 2016 census (138,949), those who avail of family support services (30,980), those in homelessness (2,505) and in direct provision (1,163).

The total of 173,052 children represents 14.5 per cent of the child population, hence the ratio one in seven.


Barnardos claims if €250 million was spent annually many of these children would no longer be “lost”.

The measures it proposes will include the extension of the ECCE (Early Childhood Care and Education) scheme to two-year-olds at the cost of €150 million, €53 million for fully staffed primary health care teams, €20 million for the provision of free school books to all primary school children and €20 million for community and public based family support services.

It also calls for the building of 47,000 social housing units to alleviate homelessness though it does not give a timetable for them.

The campaign is fronted by an interactive 360 degree ‘Lost’ film which highlights the panic a child feels when it is lost in a public space. The campaign will be available on social platforms and also includes TV, billboards, press and radio.

Barnardos chief executive Fergus Finlay said the fate of 170,000 children is being neglected because of “poor policy making”.

He added: “For too long children have not been a priority politically, and childhood itself has not been valued as it should be - as the most important time of a person’s life.

“The practical things we are looking for, immediately, are essential public services. The cost of which is less than €250 million, and the absence of which is the reason why so many children are lost.

“Not the billions that are proposed to be spent on metros and motorways, just the beginnings of an investment into the future of our children.”

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times