The most vulnerable families need support to reduce adversity and challenges and stay together. The cost is not just in human terms but in economic terms when a family breaks down and can’t support the children.

Every child entering Ireland’s residential care costs around €6,000 a week. Increasing numbers of children requiring care also places significant additional burden on all associated supports, both Statutory and Community and Voluntary sector.

70% of the families that Extern supports in partnership with state agencies are already living in consistent poverty – even before the country faces into one of the biggest drops in the standard of living since the 2008 financial crisis.

Extern calls on the Government to act now to Close the Gap in funding for the most vulnerable families so they can stay together with ‘at home’ supports and services. This will relieve the cost on Government of funding children in State residential care.

Keeping families together matters.

Extern is not only calling on the Government to not only improving the economic reality for these families but also on their access to critical support services.

1. Extern recommends a minimum €800k in funding to enable another 12 families (with avg. of 4 children) in crisis to access the Intensive Home Support Service to help them stay together.

2. Extern has identified the need for an immediate respite centre and service on the East Coast for families and children in crisis in Greater Dublin

Extern has the expertise to deliver respite services and estimates a budget provision of €1.5m for service delivery to support an additional 104 placements annually. This is comparatively little compared with the current cost of a child in state residential care at €300k per year.

3. Reinstate funding levels to the Community and Voluntary sector similar to levels which the public sector has been afforded since 2009

4. Extern Problem Gambling is recommending €750,000 annually to be allocated through State agencies and ring-fenced towards the funding of a specialist gambling addiction treatment and prevention service in the community to help Close the Gap in the need for supports in each of the 9 HSE CHO regions for one year.

Read our full pre-budget submission here

For further information, please contact:  

Extern's Media Office: +353 (0) 8670 13185