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Written Answers - Youth Services

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 765 No. 3

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 443.  Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan  asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald  the extent to which she has quantified and costed the full range of children and youth services and supports she envisages for her Department for current and future years; the extent to which her priorities are achievable in the short and medium term; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24324/12]

 444.  Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan  asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald  the extent to which priorities in respect of children and youth support services have been identified by her Department; the extent to which this compares with such services in other jurisdictions; if she has found it possible to accommodate the priorities identified by children and youth service workers; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24325/12]

 448.  Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan  asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald  if she is satisfied regarding the adequacy, strength and range of child and youth support services available at present; the extent of any weaknesses in the system; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24330/12]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I propose to take Questions Nos. 443, 444 and 448 together.

My Department supports the provision of a wide range of services and supports for children, young people and families. The overall budget for my Department for these services for 2012 is €406.407m in current funding and €8.350 in capital funding giving a total of €414.757m.

As Minister for Children and Youth Affairs improving outcomes for children and young people is my primary objective. Early childhood care and education programmes are priorities to enhance children’s opportunities for social and educational development. This year some €175.8m has been provided for the free preschool year which will benefit some 64,500 children.

The Youth Affairs Unit of my Department provides a range of funding schemes, programmes and supports to the youth sector. Funding of some €58.306m is available in 2012 to support the provision of youth services and programmes to young people throughout the country including those from disadvantaged communities. These programmes and services are delivered to over 500,000 young people by some 1,100 youth work personnel, who in turn support a large volunteer base estimated by the National Youth Council of Ireland at some 60,000.

The services provided by the National Educational Welfare Board to support children and young people to benefit from and remain in the education system, the care and education services provided in the Children’s Detention Centres for children referred by the Courts and the services provided by the local family resource centres with the support of funding from the Family Support Agency are all important priorities in my Department to support the most vulnerable children and young people. To further enhance this work, a new children’s and young people’s policy framework is currently being progressed by my Department; this will place outcomes for children and young people at the centre of policy and service delivery and [478]will aim to support children and young people to an even greater extent as they progress through important life stages.

As with all Government Departments and agencies, funding for the programmes of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs has been reduced in recent years due to the general budgetary situation in which we find ourselves. One of my key aims for policy development within my Department will be to ensure optimum use of all the financial and human resources available. Accordingly, the development of my Department’s policies in relation to children and young people will focus specifically on ensuring greater coherence, coordination and impact in policy and provision so as to ensure quality outcomes for all.


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