Contact: Caroline Reid, Communications Manager | firstname.lastname@example.org | 087 216 2496
10 Oct 2023
Today, EPIC, Empowering People in Care, welcomed the news that Budget 2024 will include measures to increase the overall capacity in children’s residential care, increase the fostering allowance, and improve the recruitment and retention of staff working with children in care.
However, the children’s rights advocacy organisation warned that without urgent political action to address the existing crisis in the care system, children in state care risk falling through the cracks.
In response to today’s Budget, Marissa Ryan CEO of EPIC, Empowering People in Care, said:
“Our care system is at a critical juncture. Alongside the budgetary measures announced today which are welcome, political attention and inter-departmental action are crucial to ensure the needs of children in state care are met.”
“The number of foster carers is decreasing year on year, there is a shortage of other care placements across Ireland, and insufficient social work numbers. At EPIC, we see the consequences of this every day in our National Advocacy Service.”
“While we welcome the increase to the foster care allowance, we are disappointed to hear that the full increase will be delayed. We are in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, and there are simply not enough places for children who cannot live with their families to go. Supporting foster carers should be the top of the government’s agenda.”
“The shortfall in care placements has resulted in increasing numbers of children being placed in unsuitable and unregulated accommodation, including hotels and B&Bs, without independent inspection or oversight. Only immediate support to foster carers and increased investment in Tusla can overcome this, and that is what we had hoped to see in Budget 24.”
“The government has a statutory responsibility for children in state care, as well as an obligation to act in the best interests of the child. This Budget must be used to ensure children in care are prioritised. While it will take time to analyse the detail of Budget 2024, we will continue to call on the government to retain focus on the children for whom it is acting in loco parentis.”