Earlier this month, the Children’s Rights Alliance, a Dublin, Ireland-based charity organization, urged the government to act quickly to address family homelessness. The Independent reported that there were nearly 1,077 homeless families and 2,451 homeless children in December 2021. At least one in four youngsters living in Dublin’s emergency housing had lived there for more than two years by the end of the year.
The organization believes that more needs to be done to combat child and family homelessness, especially for Traveling families, families with disabilities, and those leaving direct support.
In its Report Card 2022, the Children’s Rights Alliance states that lessons learned from the COVID-19 outbreak must take priority this year. In its most recent assessment report, the organization gave the government a grade according to how far it has come in fulfilling its promises to children and young people in its ‘Program for Government’.
Experts remark on Family Homelessness
In a statement at the report’s release, Tanya Ward, chief executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, said, “We’ve asked children and young people to adapt to a different way of life, and now we’re asking them to go back to the way things were before.”
During the outbreak, Ward said they experienced a significant drop in the number of families with children experiencing Family homelessness; however, that number started climbing again in 2021. As for the current situation, she said, “After COVID-19, there is a strong appetite for change. We should build on what worked well instead of simply returning to how things were.”
According to the chief executive, although the government’s new ‘Housing For All Strategy’ was published in 2021 and includes measures to end Family homelessness by 2030, there is still a need to ramp up efforts to address child and family homelessness. As a result, Ward reported that the government receives an ‘E’ in this category, down from a ‘C’ last year.
Psychologist Mark Smyth, former president of the Psychological Society of Ireland, argued that there are many options available to close the “glaring gaps” in mental health services. He noted that children and young adults have the right to age-appropriate healthcare, and the deplorable reality that 25 young people were housed in adult wards in 2021 remains unacceptable.
In an interview with Irish Times, Smyth said the strains on Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) have been clear for years, and everyone is aware of the alarming concerns that have recently surfaced in South Kerry CAMHS.