Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

Joint Committee On Children, Equality, Disability, Integration And Youth

Child Poverty: Discussion

Ms Heydi Foster-Breslin:

I want to mention how parents, women and children have been affected during Covid. The Sutton Trust is a UK charity. It has released a report that shows 57% of people in primary and secondary schools and 30% of middle-class people participated in daily online lessons but only 16% of pupils from working class families participated. That shows we need to continue to invest in a community-led recovery from the consequences of the pandemic that have been experienced by vulnerable children and families. There are very fragile families in difficult circumstances and they need our national Government to ensure there are responses on the ground. Many of my colleagues have mentioned that the way to do this already exists through community organisations. They are poised and we are poised to act if properly resourced to do so. The Government must invest in social and community providers so they can offer realtime responsive supports to help children and communities recover otherwise Covid will be another wedge that separates the haves from the have nots and the gap in life chances will grow among children of different backgrounds from their earliest years. We already have what it takes and work well together so we just need to be properly funded.