The charity says more children will be affected by poverty due to the recession
The health and welfare of children living in poverty is set to hit crisis point as the recession takes hold, according to a new Barnardo's report.
The charity is concerned more families will be forced to rely on loan sharks and will have cut back on basics like heating to make ends meet.
They have called on the government to introduce measures to help people meet their energy costs.
Lynday Wilson, of Barnardo's NI, said poor families faced a terrible strain.
"The numbers of children in poverty is likely to get worse as the recession hits - and loan companies and loan sharks will be cashing in," she said.
"This is not a one-off for families struggling to get by. This is a constant cycle of deprivation they're fighting against and their loss is the lender's gain.
"But the pressure on parents, if only to keep their children warm, is harder than ever right now, with uncommonly cold weather, high fuel prices and growing numbers of parents becoming unemployed."