Tuesday, 5 October 2021

Questions (475)

Jennifer Whitmore

Question:

475. Deputy Jennifer Whitmore asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth if a child poverty unit has been established in his Department; if so, the staff and resources provided to the unit; the remit of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47487/21]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

The Department of Social Protection holds the lead on addressing child poverty, in close collaboration with other relevant government departments.

My Department is actively engaged in efforts in this regard and has recently established a new International Unit which will also lead coordination of the necessary actions emerging from the recently adopted EU Child Guarantee. This will involve the development of a National Action Plan for the implementation of the Child Guarantee comprising inputs and harnessing efforts from across government and key policy domains.

As you may be aware, the EU Child Guarantee provides Ireland with an opportunity to re-focus and, where necessary, re-evaluate our approach in tackling child poverty and promoting children’s well-being.

The objective of the Guarantee is to prevent and combat social exclusion by guaranteeing access for children who are in need of a range of key services and as such forms a subset to the wider issues revolving around child poverty.

The Child Guarantee calls on Member States to guarantee for children in need, free access to early childhood education and care; education (including school-based activities); and healthcare; and to ensure effective access to healthy nutrition, a healthy meal each school day and adequate housing.

The effective implementation of the Child Guarantee will involve the active input and participation of all key government departments and agencies. The experience of my Department in the effective implementation of Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures and its cross government and cross sectoral engagement will inform the design and implementation of the Child Guarantee National Action Plan to ensure it is collaborative, integrated and, ultimately, impactful.