Update on Policy Issues for those in Youth Work in Ireland 
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Policy Brief

Spring 2014

Irish Government Youth Guarantee Submission

The Government made its submission to the European Commission on the Youth Guarantee in December and published the document in January. Overall the submission was somewhat disappointing compared to the build-up. Most particularly there is no evident involvement in the role out for voluntary youth organisations who are close to young unemployed people and who currently run many programmes with them. The rest of the measures are effectively more of the same, some of these are useful some less so. For example, a number of extra places are provided for on Job Plus an employment subsidy scheme. Given young people are already subject to a reduced Job Seekers Allowance payment there is little disincentive to employ them and even if there was, all this subsidy goes directly to the employer not the young person;

The Government Submission
Youth Work Ireland's Response

Youth Unemployment 

There has been a general improvement in the overall unemployment rate and youth unemployment in recent months. However the most recent figures are less encouraging. In January Youth Unemployment increased by over 1,800 and the reduction in February was extremely small. The numbers remain a major challenge for policy makers;

CSO January Live Register
CSO February Live Register

Constitutional Convention

Voices of Youth and Youth Work Ireland have kept in touch with the secretariat of the Constitutional Convention since the Children’s and Young Persons Constitutional Convention in April 2013. Voices of Youth were honoured to be invited to present to the final meeting of the Convention on February 23rd and to receive an award for their work. The group were represented by Joanna Siewierska, Robert O’Donnell, Bertie Nesirky and Erin Brightwood;

Video of Voices of Youth at the Convention
Other Images and Selfies on Facebook

Children's Rights Report Card

The Children’s Rights Alliance launched their annual report card on February 25. The report Card has become a widely recognised annual review of how the Government is or is not meeting the needs of children and young people in Ireland. Overall the Government has slipped to a C grade and particularly needs to up its game in relation to child poverty, direct provision and traveller child welfare. Progress on education including literacy and school building was welcomed however broken promises in mental health were highlighted;

The Report Card
RTE Coverage

What Rules Rule You 

Voices of Youth hosted a major youth led advocacy event on February 19 entitled What Rules Rule You. The event centred on young people’s experience in second level education and sought to establish what rights young people have in order to produce a youth led resource. Central to the day was enabling young people to engage directly with education partners and experts from a diverse range of agencies. These included the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, The ASTI, The National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals, The Equality Authority and The Children’s Rights Alliance;

Irish Independent Coverage
George Hook Interviews Joanna Siewierska of Voices of Youth (Part 1 13.40)


Stand Up! LGBT Awareness Week 

BelongTo Youth Service’s Stand Up! LGBT Awareness Week is aimed at creating positive understanding of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people and their issues. Many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) young people develop their sexual and gender identities within supportive families and communities and are leading happy lives. However, many other LGBT young people experience serious levels of homophobia, transphobia and exclusion in their schools, youth clubs and local areas. Stand Up! Week provides an annual focus for promoting positive awareness of LGBT young people, tackling homophobia and homophobic bullying, transphobia and transphobic bullying, and building allies among young people and youth workers;

See the Video
More about the week


Child Care Law Reporting Project

Given their critical importance legal cases involving children are generally held in camera. This has however denied policy makers and others access to important information to assist in the improvement in the law relating to children and the administration of the legal system. The Child Care Law Reporting Project has been established to examine and report on child care proceedings in the courts, under Section 3 of the Child Care (Amendment) Act 2007. The project means those concerned with this area can access important legal facts concerning child law cases without the anonymity of the child being compromised. Further information is available below;

Child Care Law Reporting Project Website


Child and Family Agency 

The Child and Family Agency (Túsla) was launched on January 30th. The long awaited agency will consolidate the child protection services of the HSE, the NEWB and the Family Support Agency. It is a major pillar of Government policy in this area. According to the Government the Agency will bring together over 4,000 staff and a budget of some €609 million to provide a dedicated focus on services for children & families. The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs was joined by the Taoiseach at the launch of the agency which is to be chaired by Norah Gibbons;

Frances Fitzgerald on the new Agency
The Agency Website


Youth Work Funding


Senator Kathryn Reilly recently tabled a Seanad adjournment motion on Youth Services funding;

The Debate 


Cost of Juvenile Offenders 


Catherine Murphy TD recently tabled a parliamentary question on the average cost per annum to the State for a juvenile offender under 18 years serving a custodial sentence or other form of court mandated detention in 2011, 2012 and 2013. The figures in relation to Oberstown and Trinity House are well over €300,000 supporting views long expressed by the youth work sector about the value of preventative work in this area and generally;

Question and Answer 


Parental Involvement in Education 


The CSO recently published a report on parental involvement in second level education including issues such as homework. The survey showed that 4% of primary school children and 28% of secondary school children have never received assistance with their homework. 87% of parents aspire to having their children remain in the education system to attend college or university. Youth Work Ireland has called for greater facilitation of parental involvement I this area;

The Survey
Coverage in the Irish Independent
Coverage in the Irish Times  


Cycle Against Suicide


Cycle Against Suicide is an initiative started by Irish entrepreneur, Jim Breen, as a result of his appearance on RTE’s The Secret Millionaire programme. The main objective of the Cycle is to raise awareness of the considerable help and supports that are available for anyone battling depression, self-harm, at risk of suicide or those bereaved by suicide.
In 2014, the Cycle will take place from Monday, April 28th to Sunday, May 11th. As it did in 2013, the Cycle will create a very tangible and practical opportunity for people who want to support those who have been affected by suicide;

Visit the Website


Are We Paying for That?


The Advocacy Initiative is a three-year community and voluntary sector project that promotes understanding, awareness and effectiveness of social justice advocacy in Ireland.  On January 29th the Advocacy Initiative launched its report “Are We Paying for That?” which was compiled by Social Researcher Brian Harvey with Senan Turnbull, former Director of Community and Enterprise with Fingal County Council. The report focusses on advocacy work in Government funded organisations. The launch also took the form of a seminar;

The Report
Seminar Findings


Human Rights in Under a Minute Challenge


Applications are now open for the 2014 ICCL Human Rights in Under a Minute Challenge, the youth-focussed branch of the ICCL Human Rights Film Awards, run in association with RTÉ Young People’s Programming and Two Tube. ICCL are calling on young people across Ireland to create their own human rights film on a subject that they are passionate about. The challenge is to make every second count, as the film must be less than a minute long! Homelessness? Poverty? Racism? Whatever the human rights subject, if it can be boiled down to a 60 second film, give it a try. The deadline for entries is 1st May 2014;

More information here

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