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Childline 24-hour service secured by new funding

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James Reilly

James Reilly

James Reilly

CHILDLINE has agreed a funding arrangement with the Government which will keep the helpline open 24-hours a day.

Earlier this year the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC) warned the helpline would have to close each night unless an additional €1.2m in funding could be found.

Over the past two weeks, the charity has been in discussions with Government officials and Tusla, the child and family agency, with a view to examining how the service can best be provided "to the greatest benefit of Ireland's children".

The meetings resulted in yesterday's announcement of a two-year funding agreement with the aim of helping the ISPCC to return to financial sustainability over time.

The charity has raised €400,000 through its public and corporate funding appeal.

A department spokesman said the agreement "respects the desire of ISPCC/Childline to remain independent".

He said the ISPCC has "agreed to work with the Department in supporting developments in the area of child protection".

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Dr James Reilly said he was "very pleased" to announce the funding arrangement.

funding

"It is important that children and young people know there is a service for them to go with their concerns 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

"The role played by Childline is a vital one as part of a wider architecture around supporting children and young people," he said.

As part of the arrangement the ISPCC has agreed to cooperate with Tusla and the Department of Children in the area of child protection.

That agreement will include "exploring the enhanced use of technologies to assist with the statutory roll out" of the department's Children First Bill.

The agreement will see the ISPCC providing information on an ongoing basis regarding "hidden harm" issues as reported by children and young people to Childline.

"Childline has considerable experience in being the 'listening ear' to concerns of children and young people, from simple problems to issues of a more serious nature. I believe it is right that the State protects that service and respects its independence," said Dr Reilly.

ISPCC chairman, Dan Flinter welcomed the agreement and thanked the department "for the engagement which has led to this development".

hnews@herald.ie


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