Supporting Children, a new campaign encouraging everyone to be mindful of vulnerable children and young people in these challenging times, has been launched by Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone.
The Supporting Children campaign includes the launch of a new gov.ie website, gov.ie/supportingchildren, which will be an information hub for children, young people and their families on how to access the many supports and services provided by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA), Tusla, the Child and Family Agency and their funded organisations.
The Department of Children and Youth Affairs and Tusla have an infrastructure of services providing assistance to children, young people and families throughout Ireland, involving over 800 funded organisations. This existing system of supports, with an effective coordinating structure, was mobilised during the Covid-19 crisis to ensure that vulnerable children and their families could still access the services they needed.
These supports include services designated as essential front-line services in the Covid-19 crisis (those addressing child protection; children in care; domestic, sexual and gender based violence; and certain youth work services), other key supports (youth, community, and family services) and coordinating structures (Children and Young People’s Services Committees). These services responded and adapted in innovative ways to continue to ensure the welfare and wellbeing of children and young people.
“These have been and remain challenging times for children, young people and their families. We encourage everyone to look out for those who are vulnerable and be aware of the supports and services that exist through my Department, Tusla and our many partner organisations in the community and voluntary sector,” said Minister Zappone at the launch of the campaign.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic we have worked on new and innovative ways to ensure the welfare of children and young people and we will continue to do so. My department continues to lead in harnessing the contribution from all stakeholders in improving outcomes for children and young people. The Supporting Children website will help to ensure that these services continue to be readily accessible to those who need them by providing information on services in one place.”
The Supporting Children website provides information on Child Protection and Welfare, with guidance on how to report concerns about a child, as well as Parenting and Family Supports, Education Supports, Youth Services, services for Children in Care, and Domestic, Sexual and Gender Based Violence Services.
It shows the breadth of services and supports for children provided by the State and Community and Voluntary sectors and outlines the actions and innovations taken by services in responding to the challenges of Covid-19.
The website also includes links and contact details to organisations such as Parentline, Childline, Barnardos as well as how to find local Family Resource Centres (FRC) and Children and Young People’s Services Committees (CYPSC).