Barnardos warns of record demand among vulnerable children

Children’s charity says waiting lists are the result of 16% increase in demand for supports

A breakdown of the children supported by Barnardos last year show that the bulk were aged between six and 12. Photograph: iStock

A breakdown of the children supported by Barnardos last year show that the bulk were aged between six and 12. Photograph: iStock

 

The children’s charity Barnardos has warned that record demand for support from vulnerable children is resulting in growing waiting lists for vital services.

The charity says that last year it supported almost 18,000 children and families in areas such as early years services, one-to-one support and addressing social and emotional problems.

This represented a 16 per cent increase in demand for its services and is leading to waiting lists growing year-on-year.

Suzanne Connolly, Barnardos chief executive, said her team was working hard to ensure it can deliver services to those who need them the most.

“But waiting lists for our services keep growing and the gap between the demand and the funding provided by the Government continues to widen,” she said.

“Today, as a provider of services to the most vulnerable children and families in our society, we appeal to the Government to significantly increase our funding in the next budget.

“The funding shortfall, which is €8 million annually, has to be found by us, through our own fund-raising efforts and with the generous support of the Irish public.”

‘Trauma informed approach’

She said Barnardos was striving to evolve the organisation and the services it provided to meet the needs of thousands of children and their families in Ireland.

This involved moving to a “trauma informed approach” by focus on the impact of adverse childhood experiences on children.

This, she said, was driven by the “stark connection” in international research between adverse childhood experiences and poor adult health and wellbeing.

A breakdown of the children supported by Barnardos last year show that the bulk were aged between six and 12.

The charity also supported just over 4,000 parents and carers, such as grandparents, aunts and uncles.