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Indicators show considerable improvements to the health of children in Ireland

Tuesday 21 December 2010

 

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Barry Andrews TD today launched the State of the Nation's Children Report: Ireland 2010. This Report, which is the third in a biennial series, was compiled by the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs at the Department of Health and Children, in association with the Central Statistics Office and the Health Promotion Research Centre at National University of Ireland, Galway.

The State of the Nation's Children Report: Ireland 2010 presents administrative, survey and Census data on children's lives, including the recently published data on educational attainment (PISA Study) and poverty (EU-Survey on Income and Living Conditions). It focuses specifically on children's outcomes (including health, educational and social, emotional and behavioural), children's relationships with family and friends and children's services and supports.

Speaking at the launch today, Minister Andrews welcomed the Report and the contribution it makes to understanding children's lives in Ireland. Minister Andrews was encouraged by some of the findings from the Report particularly in the area of children's health. This included the decline in child deaths and teen births, the increase in childhood immunisation rates and the increase in breastfeeding initiation rates. 'While breastfeeding initiation rates in Ireland remain comparatively low, I pleased nevertheless to see modest year on year improvements on this indicator' stated the Minister.

'Also of note in this Report are the impressive improvements in data on child well-being. In this Report, previously identified data gaps around the areas of early childhood care and education and childhood obesity have been closed and more sophisticated data analyses has enabled a greater focus on the more vulnerable groups of children in Ireland, including Traveller children, immigrant children and children with a disability and/or chronic illness. Unfortunately, this analyses shows that these vulnerable groups of children do not tend to fare as well as children in Ireland more generally across many of the indicators' continued the Minister.

Other findings of concern highlighted by the Minister were the increases observed in consistent poverty and in the number of children in families on a waiting list for social housing.

Anne-Marie Brooks, Researcher at the Department of Health and Children also commented on the Report, highlighting a mix of both positive and negative findings, including the following:

A copy of the State of the Nation's Children Report: Ireland 2010is available on the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth affairs website Download

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