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May 7, 2020

DYCA Must Stay

Limerick Youth Service is seeking guarantees from political parties the Department of Children & Youth Affairs be retained in a future Government and, that the rights and wellbeing of young people, continue to be advocated for at the cabinet table.

We are deeply concerned at reports that the Department of Children & Youth Affairs may be carved up in the next government.  As a youth organization that engages with and supports thousands of young people we cannot endorse any such proposal.

‘The needs of our children and young people cannot come last’

It is clear that the Covid-19 pandemic will have serious consequences for our society.  Children and young people have been out of school since March, with many at risk of becoming disengaged with the education service.

The current situation has had a serious effect on the mental wellbeing of young people with the prolonged uncertainty about the Leaving Cert and the financial impact of Covid-19 on their families, a constant worry for many young people.

The rate of youth unemployment, which stood at an unacceptable 12% in 2019, is set to soar in the looming economic crisis, while we are facing serious levels of child poverty and a possible surge in child protection.

when responsibility and accountability are fragmented between departments, so too are the services and supports for children and young people

Without a Minister for Children & Youth Affairs at the cabinet table, we are concerned that the recovery will be too focused on the economy and not on those most vulnerable and in need of support.

We know when responsibility and accountability are fragmented between departments, so too are the services and supports for children and young people. The needs of our children and young people cannot come last.

Ireland committed to supporting the rights of children when it signed the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child and, as we face uncertain times, we must ensure that the needs of our children and young people do not come last.

As a country with such an appalling and sad record in defending the rights of children and young people, it is essential that there is a dedicated Department for Children & Youth Affairs and, a dedicated Minister advocating on their behalf at the cabinet table.

A member of Youth Work Ireland, Limerick Youth Service remains committed to connecting with young people and supporting them to reach their full potential.

ENDS####

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