Home > Policy Framework for Children and Young People 2023-2028: report on the responses to the public consultation.

Herron, Maria and Fullerton, Deirdre and McGrellis, Sheena (2022) Policy Framework for Children and Young People 2023-2028: report on the responses to the public consultation. Dublin: Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.

PDF (Policy Framework for Children and Young People 2023-2028 - consultation)

On 27 January 2022, the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) launched a public consultation to inform the next Government policy framework for children and young people in Ireland which will run from 2023 to 2028. This new policy framework follows on from the previous strategy Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures: the National Policy Framework for Children and Young People (CYP) which ran from 2014 to 2020. Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures contained 5 National Outcomes to support children and young people aged 0-24 to lead fulfilling lives and have positive outcomes into adulthood. This report presents the findings from a public consultation which invited children and young people, parents and people working with children to share their views, and suggestions to help identify the main issues and to shape further targeted consultations throughout the design and development stages of the new framework.

Examples of references to substance use: 

PDF p.32: 3.2.2 Health services
The right of the child to optimal health was highlighted. Long waiting lists, poor access and underinvestment in health services for children featured in several responses. One written submission stated that there are “96,088 children on waiting lists for treatments, assessments and tests” (ntpf.ie was cited as the source of this data). The specific challenges experienced by families with children who have a childhood illness or conditions that require stays in hospital were also identified, including the financial stress that this can cause to the family. Some respondents identified gaps in addiction services (drug, alcohol and substance misuse).

PDF p.52: Addiction services – one of the written submissions referred to the fact that every year in Ireland, over 50,000 CYP start drinking, and an estimated 1 in 6 children are impacted by parental problem drinking. Another respondent identified the need for more understanding of “the extent and patterns of substance use in Ireland (including rural areas)”; there were references to the significant increase in opioid substitution treatment via GPs – and subsequent concerns about the reduction of GPs in rural areas; there were calls for more funding for community mental health services to include addiction counsellors, joint initiatives with youth services, and need to increase resources for drugs task forces. 

PDF p.53: 4.1.7 Listen to What CYP Have to Say About Physical and Mental Wellbeing - Talk with CYP, and listen to what they have to say, and make changes to meet their needs including CYP who are particularly vulnerable or whose voices have been excluded Involve CYP in service development for example a Citizens Assembly on drugs or a Citizens Assembly on youth development and education (see Section 4.6 for more details).

PDF p.140 Alcohol and drugs
The key priorities and messages raised in the consultation in relation to Alcohol focussed on the need to roll out a comprehensive alcohol education programme to Junior Cycle, and to focus on prevention rather than the need for intervention. There was also a recommendation made to introduce an Informed Drugs Policy. 

  • Key messages - CYP Alcohol Use – first drink age in Ireland 14-15 years – critical age for effective alcohol education
  • Action - Roll out a comprehensive nationwide alcohol education programme for Junior cycle students Make primary prevention the key goal (rather than intervention)
  • Policy / Strategy messages - Implement the Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018 PHAA in full Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery - a health led response to drug and alcohol use in Ireland 2017 – 2025

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