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Children with Disabilities Often Invisible, Not Heard and Not Counted

Published: 2021-03-30
Author: Ombudsman for Children's Office | Contact: www.oco.ie

Synopsis: Mind the Gap research reveals children with disability are often invisible, as they are overlooked in many child and disability focused laws, policies and programs. Some of the key issues raised in Mind the Gap include health and the lack of coordination between services, mental health and consent, and children with disability and the law. The research raises concerns about the ongoing violation of the rights of children with disabilities and recommends several actions to remedy this, taking a child-centered and rights-based approach.

Main Digest

Mind The Gap research on the barriers to the realization of rights of children with disabilities in Ireland, was recently launched.

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The research was commissioned by the Ombudsman for Children's Office and undertaken by researchers at the School of Law and the Institute for Lifecourse and Society at NUI Galway.

Mind the Gap found that children with disabilities are often invisible, as they are overlooked in many child and disability focused laws, policies and programs. Children with disabilities are not heard, as they are not actively or effectively involved in consultations on laws, policies and programs affecting them. Children with disabilities are not counted, as they are relatively invisible in official data.

The research raises concerns about the ongoing violation of the rights of children with disabilities and recommends several actions to remedy this, taking a child-centered and rights-based approach.

Some of the key issues raised in Mind the Gap include health and the lack of coordination between services, mental health and consent, and children with disability and the law.

This report aims to draw attention to the need for more targeted measures directed at children with disabilities to reflect the realities of their lives and ensure that their human rights are respected.

Mind the Gap is a starting point to ensure the inclusion of children with disabilities in laws, policies and practices which affect them, and respect, protect and fulfil their human rights under both the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Professor Eilionóir Flynn said:

"One of the key findings of our research is that children with disabilities often fall between two stools. They can be excluded from disability law, policy and programs (which are often targeted at disabled adults), and are also often not considered in children rights-focused laws, policies and programs (which may be geared towards non-disabled children). We hope that this research will serve as a starting point for change as it identifies gaps in current law, policy and practice which need to be addressed so that children with disabilities have their human rights fully respected."

Commenting on Mind the Gap, the Ombudsman for Children, Dr. Niall Muldoon said:

"We know that children with disabilities in Ireland are not treated equally in many ways and for a variety of reasons. We commissioned this research because we wanted to identify the barriers that are preventing children from being able to realise their rights, and to offer some solutions to help those making laws and policies for children with disabilities."

"Highlighting the issues affecting children with disabilities has been a priority for the OCO for the past number of years. Through investigations like Molly's Case, Jack's Case and our Unmet Needs report we have highlighted the very real struggles facing children with disabilities and their families every day. We also heard from hundreds of children with disabilities through Beyond Limits, an event we ran in 2019. Mind The Gap is the next step on this journey."

"Time and time again, we have seen the uphill battle children with disabilities and their families must face. I hope that this research will be used by those making laws and policies for children with disabilities. It is time for the State to lead and not impede."

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Children with Disabilities Often Invisible, Not Heard and Not Counted | Ombudsman for Children's Office (www.oco.ie). Disabled World makes no warranties or representations in connection therewith. Content may have been edited for style, clarity or length.

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Cite This Page (APA): Ombudsman for Children's Office. (2021, March 30). Children with Disabilities Often Invisible, Not Heard and Not Counted. Disabled World. Retrieved September 22, 2021 from www.disabled-world.com/news/uk/ireland/mind-the-gap.php