The children's charity Barnardos dealt with a record number of cases in 2018.

In its annual report, the charity said it supported nearly 18,000 children and families across its 41 centres.

The report shows a 16% rise in demand for services across the country last year.

Barnardos dealt with 17,799 families, with 550 more on waiting lists up to six months.

The organisation has also announced a commitment to become a trauma informed organisation, helping children to overcome adverse childhood experiences.

Last year, Barnardos received €15.6 million in statutory funding, an increase of 2%, though officials are calling on the Government to provide at least a further 3% in order to deal with demand.

Barnardos CEO Suzanne Connolly said: "Our team is working hard to ensure we can deliver services to those who need them the most, but waiting lists for our services keep growing and the gap between the demand and the funding provided by the Government continues to widen.

"Today, as a provider of services to the most vulnerable children and families in our society, we appeal to the Government to significantly increase our funding in the next Budget.

"The funding shortfall, which is €8m annually, has to be found by us, through our own fund-raising efforts and with the generous support of the Irish public.

"This is particularly relevant, as we strive to evolve the organisation and the services we provide to meet the needs of thousands of children and their families in Ireland."