24/01/2012

Govt Awarded 'C+' For Children's Rights

The Government has been told it must do better despite achieving its best report yet from a major children's charity.

The Fine Gael and Labour Coalition Government was awarded an overall C+ grade in the Children’s Rights Alliance’s (CRA) Report Card for 2012, representing best grade achieved by any Government since the Report Card series was first published in 2009.

The CRA said the C+ grade was in recognition of the Government’s decision to provide the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs with full status at Cabinet; the establishment of a dedicated Department of Children and Youth Affairs; approval for a new children’s hospital; and its commitment to hold a referendum on children’s rights in 2012.

However, the Alliance also said it had marked down the Government on “glaring violations of children's rights”, most significantly in Budget 2012, which failed to protect children, plunging vulnerable families further into poverty, and for Government’s treatment of children in detention in St Patrick's Institution (an E grade and F grade respectively).

Responding to the result, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD, said the Report Card showed the government are making encouraging moves, but that there is no room for complacency.

Attending the launch on Monday, Deputy Ó Ríordáin said: "The overall C+ grade highlights the government's commitment to construct the Children's Hospital, the continuing focus on Child literacy and also the determination to hold a Children's Rights Referendum this year.

"The C+ grade is the highest grade awarded to any government since the initiative was started four years ago, which is encouraging.

"However the stark reality is that our child poverty rates are alarmingly high, with 19% of children living in poverty and 9% of children living in persistent poverty. It is clear that a re-focusing on the well-being of our children is incredibly important and immediately necessary as childhood is so precious and so short."

(DW)

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