This submission outlines EPIC’s views in respect of the Budget 2012. It is without doubt that we are currently experiencing unprecedented economic stringency. The Government is facing tough decisions in identifying further areas of public expenditure that can be cut in order to comply with the European and International financial agreements. Children in care, however, are a uniquely vulnerable group, and should be exempt from any budgetary cuts.
EPIC (formerly the Irish Association of Young People in Care; IAYPIC) is the only independent organisation in Ireland which works with and on behalf of children and young people who are or have been in care. A core part of the work of EPIC is the provision of an individual advocacy and support service for children and young people with care experience. There has been seen a significant rise in the number of EPIC advocacy cases, with a percentage increase of 132% for the under 18 age group and 89% for aftercare, in the last 2 years.
Other children’s organisations from Barnardos to the Children’s Rights Alliance have aptly drawn attention to the impacts of any budget cuts on the rate of poverty amongst our children. EPIC supports these statements and would in particular encourage the allocation of funds to the new area based poverty initiatives in the Programme for Government. Such initiatives have the potential to end inter-generational cycles of poverty, but would require concerted inter departmental work between the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the Department of Social Protection as well as adequate resourcing...Continue> Read the full document (PDF)