This paper evaluates responses to asylum seeker children in Ireland from a child poverty perspective and from that of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. It draws upon research undertaken in early 2001 on behalf of the Irish Refugee Council among asylum seeker families with children in Cork, Limerick and Ennis on their experiences of poverty and social exclusion. The research was primarily qualitative. Interviews with adult members of households and some children were triangulated with data on benefit entitlements and take‐up, household consumption, accommodation and amenities. The research sought to ascertain levels of income poverty and material deprivation. A range of indictors of child poverty and social exclusion were also employed. The research found that asylum seeker children experienced extreme income poverty, material deprivation, housing deprivation and social exclusion in considerable part due to the imposition of a system of lesser welfare entitlements, known as “direct provision”, introduced in April 2000. The paper argues that state‐fostered social exclusion of asylum seeker children resulting from “direct provision” is contrary to Ireland’s obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the goals of the National Children’s Strategy and the goals of the National Anti‐Poverty Strategy.
Source: Child Care in Practice Volume 10, Issue 3, 2004