Barnardos: Docking children's allowance not the way to tackle poor school attendance

Barnardos says docking parents their children's allowance isn't the way to tackle poor school attendance.

Barnardos: Docking children's allowance not the way to tackle poor school attendance

Barnardos says docking parents their children's allowance is not the way to tackle poor school attendance.

It is after new figures show parents have been issued with legal proceedings by Tusla more than 200 times over the past two years because their children attended school so little.

Former Minister Denis Naughten says child benefit should be withheld from parents whose children aren't going to class.

But Suzanne Connolly, the chief executive of the children's charity, disagrees.

"I wouldn't support that at all," she said.

"I think that is just added incredible stress to a family.

"What I would support is that you offer help to a family and you offer help to the parent or the child, having assessed what's needed here.

"It doesn't do anybody any good to bring a parent to court about this. It doesn't help the child.

"So what you need to do is say what services do we need to put in place to get his child or children into school."

Parents and guardians have a legal obligation to ensure their child attends a school or else receives an education elsewhere.

If Tusla feels a parent is neglecting their kid in this regard, it sends them a warning letter, called a School Attendance Notice.

These warning letters were issued in connection with 778 individual children between January 2018 and August of this year.

If a parent ignores one these warnings, they face prosecution and, if convicted, they can be fined and/or jailed for up to a month.

Tusla has issued court summonses relating to 212 individual children during that period.

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