Steady progress has been made on the development of the LGBTI+ Youth Strategy, but it needs to be completed and resourced in 2018. That’s according to the Children’s Rights Alliance, which yesterday,13th February, awarded the Government a B- grade for its commitments to LGBTI+ children and young people in Report Card 2018.
The annual Report Card scrutinises the Government’s performance each year against commitments made to children in the Programme for Government.
Commenting yesterday, Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, said this grade represents a good effort, and highlighted the consultation with LGBTI+ children and young people, and with key stakeholders, to inform the development of the Strategy. The revised name from LGBT to LGBTI+ better reflects the inclusion of children and young people of all sexual orientations, gender identities or gender expression.
“A recent national study found that the LGBTI+ teens who responded were four times as likely as other teens to suffer from severe or extremely severe stress, anxiety and depression,” said Ms. Ward. “It is vital that the Government publish the LGBTI+ Youth Strategy in the first half of 2018 with an implementation plan setting out actions and timelines. The Strategy has the potential to significantly tackle inequality and discrimination, but it can only do that with clear timeframes, accountability measures and adequate funding.”
Overall Grade for Government
The Children’s Rights Alliance’s annual Report Card is graded by an independent panel of experts, chaired by former Supreme Court judge, Mrs. Justice Catherine McGuinness. The 2018 report gives the Government an overall C- grade in relation to progress on its commitments to children. This is an increase on last year’s ‘D+’ grade.
Child and Family Homelessness received the lowest grade (an E) due to an unprecedented 3,333 children experiencing homelessness in November 2017. The highest grade was awarded for Child Protection (a B).
Ms. Ward stressed that the grades in the Report Card are based on what the Government has committed to in the Programme of Government – rather than on what the Children’s Rights Alliance believes to be the best course of action.
Report Card 2018 is the tenth Report Card published by the Children’s Rights Alliance. Commenting on the milestone publication, Mrs. Justice Catherine McGuinness said:
“The Alliance works for the rights of children using the collective experience and expertise of member organisations. Over the last decade, the Report Card has reflected the reality of children’s lives and the impact on children of decisions made by national policymakers. It is important to give praise where it is due, as well as seeking change where it is needed. This is what the annual Report Card aims to do.”
Report Card 2018 is available on the Children’s Rights Alliance website, www.childrensrights.ie.