Barnardos: Government's Covid-19 lockdown exit plan ignores at-risk children

Barnardos: Government's Covid-19 lockdown exit plan ignores at-risk children
Barnardos' chief executive Suzanne Connolly says not enough is being done to help children at risk of neglect and abuse during the current crisis.

At-risk children have been ignored by the government's roadmap to reopen the county, according to Barnardos.

It says 1,720 families sought its help in the first four weeks of restrictions, ranging from practical to emotional support.

The organisation says that included 3,000 hot meals, 1,264 food parcels and also baby supplies and shopping vouchers.

Barnardos' chief executive Suzanne Connolly says not enough is being done to help children at risk of neglect and abuse during the current crisis.

She says: "Children living in those circumstances really need the services, they really need the schools, they need the creches.

"One of the things we are disappointed in, there wasn't consideration given to reopening schools sooner in the context of thinking about social distancing."

Meanwhile, the Irish Guide Dogs for the blind says there are 35 clients waiting on a new guide dog after pairing procedures stopped due to Covid-19.

On Guide Dog Day, the organisation says it has to change how it trains dogs and introduces them to their new users.

CEO of the organisation Patrick Burke says dogs are still available but there is a backlog in the pairing process.

He says: "We are working on ways of continuing to train dogs but it will take a longer time.

"We will continue to train dogs and match them our vision-impaired clients and the families of children."

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