Rise in children experiencing deprivation reflected in rates of calls to homeless services

Rise in children experiencing deprivation reflected in rates of calls to homeless services

In response to the Children’s Rights Alliance report, published last Monday, which reveals one in five children are experiencing enforced deprivation, an 18.8% increase when compared to the figures established in 2022, CEO of the Capuchin Day Centre, Brian Friel, said that the figures contained in the report almost exactly match the increased volume of requests for help that the Capuchin Day Centre has received between the same timeframe.

Speaking to The Irish Catholic he said that “the percentage (18.8%) aligns almost exactly with our own in that we saw an increase in service provision between 2022 and 2023. 2023 showed an increase on the previous years. Those who come to the service include families so we have a dedicated family area in the Capuchin Day Centre and we provide support on an ongoing basis to hundreds of families.”

Mr Friel said the service continues to offer support to families with young children but the increased demand on its provisions is leading to resources and attention being stretched.

“One of our primary interventions is the provision of food and addressing food poverty so we provide formula milk and nappies to support families who are trying to make ends meet,” he said. “The centre has never turned anybody away so we find ways in order to meet the demand as it presents. It just means stretching what we have as far as we can.”

In response to the report, Dr Tricia Keilthy, Head of Social Justice and Policy at the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, said that the findings come as no surprise as the charity is dealing with thousands of cases that involve children being deprived of the basics due to chronic poverty.

“Child poverty is a core issue of concern for SVP as last year we received over 250,000 requests for assistance and almost 70% of those requests were from families with children,” Dr Keilthy said.

“Unfortunately, it is no surprise that nationally one in five children are experiencing deprivation. The reality behind these figures as seen by SVP are children spending childhoods going without basics like secure housing, healthy food and suitable clothing and will be excluded from participating in school and other everyday activities that other children and families take for granted.”