A new report says refugee children need more mental health supports and education supports as well as help to integrate in Irish society. 

The report commissioned by the Children's Rights Alliance found refugee children who have fled from Syria experience considerable challenges arriving in Ireland.

It says they need greater support from schools, youth services and communities.

The report is based on consultations with 77 people including parents, children, service providers and teachers.

The report 'Safe Haven: A Study on the Needs of Refugee Children Arriving in Ireland through the Irish Refugee Protection Programme' was carried out by Dr Muireann Ní Raghallaigh and Dr Karen Smith from the School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice, at UCD.  

It finds that refugee children arriving in Ireland from Syria and other countries have experienced disruption and loss before arriving in Ireland.

It also says they have often endured difficult journeys and long periods in limbo, while the process of settling into life in Ireland also poses considerable challenges for the children.

Parents and stakeholders reported issues for some children such as bedwetting, nightmares or having difficulties sleeping.

It says the effects of trauma among refugee children can manifest in different ways from overt behavioural issues to withdrawal or disengagement.

Read Report in full: Needs of Refugee Children Arriving in Ireland 

Professionals were concerned that some children are struggling emotionally.

It finds that teachers and others working with refugee children and parents need to receive training on trauma-awareness.

But it says this is not routinely available.

It also finds that refugee children experience difficulties accessing appropriate mental health supports, like many others in Ireland.

Furthermore, it also says many refugee parents experience debilitating mental health problems but do not always get the help they need.

The report says schools are trying their best despite not always having the resources they need.

One teacher reported sourcing materials for refugee children herself because school funds were simply not enough.

It says schools need far greater capacity to meet the learning, language and socio-emotional needs of young refugees and to support them in their transition to school and when they move schools.