Children’s rights groups welcome €15m fund

CHILDREN’S rights groups have welcomed the funds announced for the implementation of the Ryan Report and the Children’s Rights Referendum.

Up to €15 million has been set aside for the implementation of the Ryan Report which uncovered widespread clerical abuse in religious-run institutions. The funds will go towards counselling and social work among areas under measures agreed by the Cabinet in the wake of the harrowing inquiry.

Minister for Children Barry Andrews announced the budget funds saying the new posts would target the area of child protection and child care.

The Ryan Report Implementation Plan, agreed by the Government earlier this year, committed to the filling of 270 social work positions between 2009 and 2011.

Survivors of abuse would be supported with an extra 200 social workers starting from next year, said Mr Andrews.

“Each child in care has a statutory right to have an allocated social worker and a care plan. Up until this point, not all children in care had a social worker. This is a concrete step to realising this entitlement,” said the minister

Elsewhere, Mr Andrews also announced a fund of €3 million for the Children’s Rights Referendum.

The referendum, one of the commitments for government, has been stalled after a breakdown in agreement between groups, parties and the State over its wording and the extent to which it will protect children.

An Oireachtas Committee is scheduled to complete its work on the referendum by December 16, after which a report will be sent to government.

The Children’s Rights Alliance welcomed the funds for the referendum as well as the funds for abuse survivors.

Alliance chief executive Jillian van Turnhout added: “Given the weakened public confidence in our child protection and care systems following the Ryan and Murphy Reports, we believe that changing the Constitution is not only needed to uphold children’s rights, but it will also be a living memorial to atone for the abuses of the past.”


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