Cuts to services will harm a generation of children – over 100 organisation write to SoS
Concern raised around potential breach of statutory duties and failure to assess the impact of decisions
Over 100 organisations and individuals have jointly signed a letter written to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Chris Heaton-Harris, raising concern around the impact of budget decisions and cuts to services. The letter urges the Secretary of State to reconsider the budget decisions and immediately assess the impact on children and young people.
After submitting the letter, Fergal McFerran, Policy and Public Affairs Manager at the Children’s Law Centre, said:
“The budget and the cuts to services flowing from it will cause active harm to a generation of children and young people. We have had weeks of announcements signalling cuts to children’s support and early intervention services that will cause significant long-term harm to many.
“The way in which these decisions are being made is an affront to children’s rights and equality. Despite having a statutory duty to assess the impact and to protect children, particularly children who are disadvantaged or have additional needs, these services are the first to go.
“Many children and young people, as well as their parents, guardians and carers, are already at breaking point. There is a crisis in mental health for our young people, a complete failure around services for children with special educational needs and disabilities, and unacceptable numbers of children living in poverty. Yet, budget decisions are targeting these groups of children directly.
“Rather than cutting children’s services, we must look at how we better protect our children and young people. We should be strengthening laws to ensure they have full access to services that support their survival and development. We should be making decisions that are in their best interests, rather than knowingly subjecting them to future harm.”