Children’s Rights Alliance welcomes announcement that Department of Children and Youth Affairs will be retained in the new Government
On 27 June, it was announced that in the new Irish Government formation, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs would be retained, with an expanded remit. This comes after lengthy programme for government negotiations that saw the Department potentially on the chopping block. The Alliance came together with over 160 members and children’s advocates to call for the retention of the Department.
Speaking in response to the latest news, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, Tanya Ward said, “The retention of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the expansion of its remit makes a real statement about the values of the incoming government, that children matter and young people matter.
Retaining the Department will mean that the Government is well positioned to respond to the new challenges that Covid-19 presents us with. We are already seeing increased child protection concerns, rising levels of food poverty and additional strains on mental health services. We need a full Cabinet Minister at the table for children and young people that can help the country recover from Covid19.
The beefing up of the Department’s remit to include equality and disability will also mean that it will have a bigger role to play and a further reach across government, giving every child, every chance. This will allow it the flexibility and resources to develop policies and responses across other areas of Government to ensure our children and young people are not forgotten when we deal with the fallout of this pandemic.”
“We recognise that there is lot more progress to be made for children and young people, but we are already in a better position to continue to make positive change when children and young people have a seat at the Cabinet table. We acknowledge the leadership of the negotiating parties in deciding not only to retain the Department but in taking this one step further, and scaling up the Department. That being said, it is also vital that this ‘beefed-up’ Department is resourced and supported to ensure that all aspects of it remit are given the attention they deserve.”
"As we enter into unchartered waters, it will be an assurance to children, young people and families across the country that their needs will be represented and valued as much as other interests. We look forward to working with the new Minister to ensure that this remains the case,” Tanya Ward continued.
The Children’s Rights Alliance also welcomes appointment of Roderic O’Gorman TD as the new Minister for Children, Equality and Disability.
Commenting on O’Gorman’s appointment, Tanya Ward said that: "Deputy O’Gorman is well-placed to build on the work of Dr Katherine Zappone TD who held the Children and Youth Ministry over the last four years. There are pressing issues for children because of the impact of Covid19 including increasing levels of child poverty, significant educational welfare issues, increasing demands on child protection services and growing levels of poor youth mental health, and the incoming Minister will have to marshal significant resources to address these issues. At the same time, the expansion of the Ministry to include equality and disability, will give O’Gorman an even greater role in addressing inequalities experienced by many children and young people today. The Children’s Rights Alliance congratulates O’Gorman on this pivotal appointment and looks forward to working with the new Minister."
For further information,please contact Emma Archbold emma.archbold(at)childrensrights(dot)ie