Video: Life on the streets

A girl featured in a video released yesterday by the Ombudsman for Children says she would be “doing a lot more drugs” if she had remained homeless.

The YouTube video was created to mark the 25th anniversary of the UN convention on the Rights of the Child.

According to the ombudsman’s office, the young person’s direct account of experiencing homelessness is to highlight the power of listening to children.

Between September and December in 2011 the office interviewed 25 children from Dublin and Cork about their experience. Their responses were included in a report called Homeless Truths and copies were given to policy- makers.

Reference to the report was made in the Department of Children and Youth Affairs homeless strategy review published last year.

The video opens with the sound of a siren and various street scenes.

Only the girl’s voice is used and she speaks about “doing loads of drugs” while on the streets.

“I think if I had of stayed homeless I would have done a lot more. I would have just kept going.” She spoke about her vulnerability.

“You could be in a very bad place that you would trust anybody or you are looking for some type of love because you don’t see your family most of the time,” she said.

The girl has had numerous placements and meetings with the social worker as the news could be bad as well as good. “This place came up. I’m here long-term now so I’m happy. At least I know I am going to be here for two years.”

The convention, ratified by Ireland in 1992, sets out the rights that all children under 18 are entitled to — including the right to an adequate standard of living and the right to have their views heard.

The Ombudsman for Children’s Office continues to examine homelessness cases through its complaints and investigation service.

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