A damning report on funding for child services in Meath shows that services for young people in the county receive almost 90 per cent less funding that the national average.
According to voluntary organisations that work with young people, Meath children and their parents wait longer for services than their counterparts in other counties and in some cases have no access to dedicated services at all.
The report, ‘Working For Children,’ commissioned by the Meath Children’s Services Committee (CSC), found the national average funding for child services was €22.31 per child, but in Meath this figure is €2.89 per child, or just under 13per cent of the national average.
The figures have been described as a cruel betrayal of children in Meath.
The CSC represents agencies from around the county working with children, including Navan Springboard and the Crann Support Group, teachers groups, the HSE, Meath VEC, the North East-Regional Drugs Task Force, Meath County Council, the gardai and probation service.
Sé Fulham, manager, Navan Springboard Family Support Services, said that as a front line service, working with parents and children, his organisation witnesses the struggles that parents and their children experience on a daily basis.
He said they know from their work and links with other agencies that Meath is seriously underfunded.
“The end result of this underfunding is that children and their parents wait longer for services than their counterparts in other counties and in some cases have no access to dedicated services at all.
Cllr Sinead Burke said the children of Meath had been cruelly let down by successive governments .
After reading the report, she described the situation as “a betrayal of all young people and youth agencies in the county”.
“This is a damning insight into the lack of support for youth services in Meath.
“Thanks to this report we now have in black and white the figures to back up what any youth work or children’s advocate in the county will tell you, our young people are not getting the same level of support that children in other counties are getting.”
She points out that there are less paid youth workers, less drugs services and less post primary schools in Meath than in either Wicklow or Kildare.