I thank the Deputy. I believe significant progress can be made through my Department's co-ordination of the EU child guarantee, which is an important initiative that aims to combat social exclusion by guaranteeing access for children who are in need of a range of key services. I will publish our national action plan for the child guarantee shortly. The commitments under the guarantee address critical matters such as: free access to early childhood education and care; education and healthcare for children in need; healthy nutrition, including a healthy meal each school day; and adequate housing. Tackling child poverty and effectively implementing the child guarantee will require the commitment and active and sustained participation of my colleagues across government to ensure it is collaborative, integrated and, ultimately, impactful.
As part of the EU child guarantee process and in developing the successor national policy framework to Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures, I will be engaging with my Cabinet colleagues to consider the most appropriate and effective structures to pursue the reforms necessary to improve outcomes for our most disadvantaged children and young people. The child guarantee will form part of the broader body of work supported by the new national policy framework for children and young people and its implementation structures. Addressing child poverty was identified as a priority action under Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures and it will remain a priority in the successor framework currently being developed by my Department.
It should also be noted that the Department of Social Protection leads on the Roadmap for Social Inclusion 2020-2025 aimed at reducing poverty and improving social inclusion. Under the roadmap, a new child poverty target is being agreed. In this regard, relevant officials are in contact regarding a new target for child poverty and identifying a programme of work to address child poverty under the successor framework to Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures. I have met the Minister of State, Deputy Joe O'Brien, recently on this issue and will meet him and his officials again soon on this point.