The Faculties of Paediatrics and Public Health of the Royal College of Physicians call for urgent action to address the serious harm to the health of children experiencing homelessness and inadequate housing.
A new paper titled "The Impact of Homelessness and Inadequate Housing on Children’s Health" produced by the Faculties of Paediatrics and Public Health of the Royal College of Physicians (RCPI) and endorsed by the Council of the RCPI was launched on World Children's Day.
The paper outlines the evidence that the experience of poor housing, including homelessness, has on children’s health and wellbeing - increasing the risk of severe physical and mental ill-health and disability in childhood and early adulthood by up to 25%.
It explores the issue of homelessness and housing instability in the context of adverse childhood experiences and the long-term impact on mental and physical health; and it makes a case for early intervention and prevention as the most cost-effective means of addressing these health impacts.
The Faculties are advocating for the provision of sufficient affordable quality housing, with stable tenancies, to meet the accommodation needs of families with children and in the short term are calling for:
A whole-of-government approach to addressing the service needs of homeless families and their children
Local co-ordination of service provision under the auspices of Children and Young People’s Services Committees and resourcing of such services
Assignment of a key worker to each family
Prioritisation of homeless children and pregnant women by the health services
Adequate provision of mental health services for children and their parents and early access to such services.
These actions echo those recommended by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government and the Joint Committee on Children and Youth Affairs in their reports on Family and Child Homelessness published recently.
The paper can be accessed on the RCPI website.
Children and Young People's Services Committees continue to respond to the needs of children and young people across Ireland by supporting the practice of interagency working and embedding a culture of collaboration across all child and youth-related services in Ireland.
Responding to the immediate needs of children and young people experiencing inadequate housing and homelessness has increasingly become a priorty for a number of CYPSC. Click here to read a summary of CYPSC responses to the needs of homeless children and young people.
Click here for contact details of your local CYPSC.
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