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A young boy holds his face in his hands

ISPCC welcomes Ombudsman for Children's Office Report launch; calls for action to address child homeless and deficits in mental health services

The ISPCC has welcomed the publication today of the Ombudsman for Children’s Office’s Annual Report for 2017, which highlights the experiences of young people and families who have experienced Ireland’s mental health, housing, direct provision and other systems.
The national child protection charity called for action to address child and family homelessness and deficits in mental health services, which affect thousands of children and young people nationwide.
The ISPCC also expressed support for the Ombudsman for Children’s Office's direct consultation with young people accessing in-patient mental health units across the country on their views regarding the provision of mental health services.
ISPCC Director of Policy Cliodhna O’Neill said: “This Annual Report contains valuable stories directly from young people and families which provide insight into their experiences and difficulties faced as service users in a variety of areas.
“The ISPCC echoes the recommendation made by the Ombudsman for Children’s Office, in relation to housing, that policy-makers consider children’s needs in all policies affecting them. A greater amount of data ought to be captured on homeless children in Ireland, for example, so that a needs-led response can be planned and implemented. It is unsurprising to see that complaints have been made to the Ombudsman for Children’s Office in the past year in relation to housing. Children need a secure home to grow up in, yet, as Ombudsman Dr. Niall Muldoon outlines in this report, Ireland is ‘tolerating’ a situation where 3,500 children are homeless. Urgent action is needed to change this.
“Some 57 complaints were made to the Ombudsman for Children’s Office in 2017 regarding difficulties experienced by young people in accessing mental health services. It is important that young people receive efficient and effective support when they are most in need and we need to see real progress on making this a reality.
“We look forward to the publication of the report arising from the Ombudsman for Children’s Office’s direct consultation with under-18 year-old in-patients accessing services at mental health units. They are the experts in their own lives and it is hugely important to hear and record their voices and views regarding the services they are receiving.”

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