Senior Minister needed for Department of Children and Youth Affairs
With ongoing reports that the next Government will combine the Department of Children Youth Affairs with the Department of Education under the control of one Minister, Labour spokesperson Seán Sherlock has called for the retention of a dedicated Department for Children with a standalone Cabinet Minister with political clout necessary to provide a voice for children at Cabinet.
Deputy Sherlock said:
“I have already spoken in the Dáil about the important and vital role that the Department of Children and Youth Affairs plays in Irish society. The proposals to merge it with the Department of Education effectively amounts to a downgrading and diminishment of the brief of Children and Youth Affairs by the next Government.
“I would echo the calls by the Chair of Tulsa and other child protection and child welfare charities to retain the Department with a full Ministerial post. Such a decision will turn back the clock on the progress we have made on child protection. This is a retrograde step and it is not too late for the three party leaders to rethink this decision.
“By merging Children and Youth affairs with the Department of Education, the importance of children’s rights, childcare and child protection will be diluted by the other full time responsibilities of the Department of Education.”
Deputy Sherlock concluded:
“We have had 19 official reports including the Ryan report documenting how this country has failed children and the creation of a dedicated Department of Children and Youth Affairs in 2011 signalled a sea change in how our society values children. Abolishing the Department is a backward step that will undermine vital further progress in this area.”