Three children playing in a garden

Policy and influencing in Northern Ireland

We have first-hand experience of the issues faced by children and young people across Northern Ireland. We use that experience to campaign for change and influence government to achieve better outcomes for more children.

To change lives, we need to change laws

We campaign to raise public awareness of the issues affecting children and young people in Northern Ireland and we influence government using our service experience and evidence-based research to make change happen.

Our campaigns and influencing are currently focused on:

Our recent influencing work in Northern Ireland

  • Barnardo's Northern Ireland has engaged with the Independent Review of Children’s Services in Northern Ireland throughout 2022 and 2023. We submitted a Summary Report to the Review which highlighted findings from research with Barnardo’s NI staff, children, young people, parents and carers – many of our key issues were reflected in the recommendations published by the Review in June 2023.
  • We launched a manifesto ahead of the local government elections in May 2023 which called for action to address the persistent issues and new challenges facing children and young people as they grow up today.

Our key achievements in 2021-22

  • As part of the Anti-Poverty Strategy Co-Design Group, we produced a position paper detailing key recommendations for the development of a Northern Ireland Anti-Poverty Strategy. We co-chaired this process and continue to call for the Anti-Poverty Strategy to be a day one priority for an incoming Executive.
  • We developed a Barnardo’s NI 2022 Manifesto which called for the next Northern Ireland Assembly to be an Assembly for Children. Our manifesto was based on our experience delivering services in Northern Ireland, the expertise from our frontline colleagues, and the voices of the children and young people we work with.

  • As part of the Stronger from the Start Alliance, Barnardo's NI successfully campaigned for the explicit inclusion of infants within the Mental Health Strategy for Northern Ireland, 2021-2031.

  • We empowered a group of young people supported by our Barnardo’s NI Leaving Care service to develop a manifesto of asks for decisionmakers in Stormont to make the care system in Northern Ireland a better place for them and the future generations of children with care experience.

  • We worked closely with NSPCC to influence the Domestic Abuse & Civil Proceedings Act, which was passed by the Northern Ireland Assembly in January 2021, so that all children and young people living with domestic abuse would have access to the greatest protections from abuse possible.

Contact us

To organise a meeting, speak to someone about our work, or to arrange a visit, contact the Northern Ireland Policy Team email Trása Canavan at [email protected].