Children's charity, Barnardos, is calling on the next government to prioritise funding for family support services.
According to the charity, while most children in Ireland are doing well, at least one-fifth "have poor economic, social and educational outcomes".
"Successive governments and the political system is failing to adequately address the complex issues facing this cohort of children. Through targeted investment and reform, the next government can deliver real and sustainable change and ensure that all children in Ireland have the same life chances," commented Barnardos CEO, Suzanne Connolly.
Research commissioned by the charity in 2019 showed that Ireland is spending an additional €6.95 billion on dealing with preventable problems, such as obesity, alcohol abuse, drug abuse and violence against children.
Ms Connolly insisted that this "is not an accident of history, but the result of clear policy choices".
"The first month of 2020 has been marked by a wave of high profile violent and tragic incidents, which has garnered much media attention. The complexity of the underlying issues facing the families and communities behind these headlines are often misunderstood.
"There is a clear need to invest in intensive supports which enable families to build resilience, to believe in their capacities and to live with hope and positive expectations for themselves and their children," Ms Connolly said.
Barnardos is calling on the next government to provide:
-Sustainable investment in family support
-A reform of State services and support
-The introduction of truly free education for all.
Its General Election 2020 manifesto can be viewed here.
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