Oireachtas Briefing 2022
Youth Work Ireland’s Oireachtas Briefing 2022 took place on April 27th. We welcomed over 80 TDS and Senators to meet with young people, youth workers and volunteers to discuss the value and impact youth services have on local communities across Ireland. This event is always a great way for us, as a Federation, to connect our local experience with national policy and advocate for better supports and resources for the youth sector.
As a Federation we had 3 key asks to put to the TDs and Senators – these asks were identified by our membership as the key issues facing youth services and young people in Ireland today.
In the wake of Covid and recent revelations – ensure the proper support and funding for CAMHs and immediately move to fill the current 100 (of 495) vacant posts. At the end of August 2021, there were 2,384 children awaiting CAMHS services with 170 of those waiting more than a year to be seen. This is the main community response to youth mental health issues and the alternative to institutional settings. Services are still mainly 9-5, Monday to Friday despite commitments made.
YOUTH SERVICE FUNDING
Introduce a quality standard on the compliance burden and ensure reforms to the Youth Service Grant do not endanger the future of local youth services. Targeted projects are struggling with overly excessive burdens of compliance and inspection beyond what is necessary. The present review of the Youth Service Grant can strengthen the key infrastructure of local youth services. It must recognize the diversity local work supported and not be overly prescriptive regarding targets and groups.
RELATIONSHIPS AND SEXUALITY EDUCATION
Implement the report of the National Council for Curriculum Assessment (NCCA) relating to Relationships and Sexuality Educate (RSE) and Sex education. While a lot of work and youth involvement went in producing the NCCA report on the RSE curriculum there has effectively been no progress since. This was a critical piece of research and had considerable buy in from young people. The review is important to the health and well-being of young people but also their faith in the political system.