Report offers insight into difficulties faced by homeless children13/04/2012 - 09:45:21
Homeless children in Ireland are sometimes choosing to sleep on the streets, rather than go through the difficult process of being placed in mainly adult shelters.
That's according to the Ombudsman for Children, who launched a report on homelessness yesterday.
The authors of 'Homeless Truths' interviewed young people living on the streets about their experiences - most of them aged between 12 and 18.
Ombudsman Emily Logan, said that in emergency situations young people are expected to present themselves at garda stations to access accommodation, and that's off-putting.
She wants public services to be designed around children's needs.
"If you are in an emergency or crisis intervention situation, as a child you are expected to turn up at a garda station to actually access a bed at night-time.
"Which is a very frightening experience for a child, and they describe themselves feeling ashamed, feeling humiliated, and sometimes embarrassed at having to do that.
"For some children it's such a barrier that they actually prefer to be on the streets."
The Ombudsman is also calling for the National Children's Hospital to be fast-tracked.
It comes after a major development on the Mater Hospital site in Dublin was turned down because of the impact it would have on the city's skyline.
Ms Logan, a former paediatric nurse, said it is time for the interests of children to be put to the fore.
"This row (over the site of the children's hospital) has been going on for a very, very long time," she said.
"I would like to see the row stop, and children's interests genuinely being put ahead of the vested interests that we are seeing."
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