The Ombudsman for Children, Dr Niall Muldoon, has said that changes to the Community Childcare Subvention scheme announced today (Thursday), by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone, will go some way in improving conditions for children in Dublin who are experiencing homelessness, but should not be viewed as a permanent solution.
“I very much welcome news today that changes are to be made to the Community Childcare Subvention scheme which will see children in Dublin who are homeless aged 0-5 years offered free childcare for 25-hours a week.
“These changes should not be considered a permanent solution for the 2,110 children in Dublin who are experiencing homelessness. This is an interim measure that will help families who are homeless but it does nothing to change the fact that the children affected still need a more permanent solution, a home.
“Continued and persistent efforts are still needed from Government to fulfil the commitment made in Rebuilding Ireland to ensure that, by the middle of next year, hotels will only be used as emergency accommodation in limited circumstances only.
“B&B and hotel accommodation are not suitable for normal family living, and should be a measure of last resort for children and their families. These changes to the Community Childcare Subvention scheme will make life a little bit easier for families in Dublin who are homeless.
“I am also concerned that this scheme excludes children who are homeless outside of Dublin. I note Minister Zappone’s commitment to extend the scheme and would urge her to do so as soon as possible. Just because there are fewer children experiencing homelessness outside of Dublin, does not mean they suffer any less.
“I would like to commend the joined up approach between the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, the Department of Finance and other agencies in putting in place this arrangement. This is an excellent example of the best interests of the child being at the centre of Government decisions. I would like to see more of this.”
Ombudsman for Children’s Office
01 865 6806/ 087 148 4173