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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 492-516
 Header Item Tourism Employment Data
 Header Item Bus Éireann Services
 Header Item National Youth Work Advisory Committee
 Header Item Departmental Bodies Data
 Header Item Early Childhood Care and Education
 Header Item Child and Family Agency Services
 Header Item Community Childcare Subvention Programme
 Header Item Child and Family Agency Services
 Header Item Child and Family Agency Services
 Header Item Departmental Agencies Staff Recruitment
 Header Item Child Care Services
 Header Item National Lottery Funding Disbursement
 Header Item Child and Family Agency Expenditure
 Header Item Affordable Childcare Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item Youth Services Funding
 Header Item Family Resource Centres
 Header Item Affordable Childcare Scheme Implementation
 Header Item Child Care Services Funding
 Header Item Child and Family Agency Investigations

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 960 No. 4

First Page Previous Page Page of 86 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 492-516

Tourism Employment Data

 492. Deputy John Lahart Information on John Lahart Zoom on John Lahart asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the number of persons employed directly and indirectly in tourism-related industry in each of the years 2011 to 2016 and to date in 2017, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [43916/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Brendan Griffin): Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin The collection of statistical information, including information relating to employment numbers, is a matter for the Central Statistics Office, the parent Department of which is the Department of An Taoiseach. I have no role or function in the matter of collection and collation of the information sought by the Deputy..

Bus Éireann Services

 493. Deputy Brendan Ryan Information on Brendan Ryan Zoom on Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross if he will clarify reports that Bus Éireann is requiring passengers with disabilities to inform the company by 3 p.m. on the Friday before travel if they wish to travel on Saturday, Sunday or Monday; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43951/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross The issue raised is a matter for Bus Éireann and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the company for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if a response is not received within ten working days..

National Youth Work Advisory Committee

 494. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Information on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Zoom on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the position regarding the establishment of the national youth work advisory committee; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43407/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Sections 17 and 18 of the Youth Work Act 2001 provide for the appointment of a National Youth Work Advisory Committee. The Committee had an advisory and consultative role to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs in matters to do with youth work, including the coordination of youth work programmes and services. In line with these provisions, a new National Youth Work Advisory Committee was appointed by the then Minister for Children and Youth Affairs with a term of office of one year with effect from 28 January 2013. The Committee had its final meeting on 26 November 2013. The Committee continued to work with my Department and assisted with the development of the new National Youth Strategy, in particular in identifying in what ways the youth work sector can contribute to shared policy objectives for young people.

The National Youth Strategy 2015-2020 was published in, 2015. The implementation structures established by my Department under Better Outcomes Brighter Futures (BOBF), the National Policy Framework for Children and Young People oversee the roll out of the National Youth Strategy. There is no doubt that the youth work services have a significant contribution to make to realise the goals of the National Youth Strategy as part of a cross sectoral, whole of society approach to supporting young people in their everyday lives. For this reason, the key youth sector interests are represented on the structures established by my Department to support the implementation of Better Outcomes Brighter Futures. At national level, representatives of the voluntary youth services have been appointed to the Advisory Council of BOBF. At local level, youth sector representatives participate in the Children and Young People’s Services Committees. Key Government departments and agencies that have an interest in children and young people and that had served on the National Youth Work Advisory Committee are represented on the Children and Young People’s Policy Consortium and on the Sponsors Group that have been established under Better Outcomes Brighter Futures to drive the effective implementation of the policy framework.

There have been other significant policy and legislative developments that are relevant to the provision of youth services and the role of the National Youth Work Advisory Committee since the 2001 Act was passed. These include the introduction of the Education and Training Boards Act 2013 which, inter alia, provides for a statutory function for Education and Training Boards in supporting the provision and assessment of youth work services at local level. The National Strategy on Children and Young People’s Participation in Decision-making 2015-2020, which was published by my Department in June, 2015 is particularly relevant. I am deeply committed to ensuring that young people are involved in the preparation, planning and implementation of policies that impact on their lives.

In addition, my Department is fully committed to the reform of the many youth funding schemes. The Deputy will be aware that a number of targeted funding schemes supporting youth services were the subject of a Value for Money and Policy Review in 2014. The review made a number of recommendations for the future operation of the youth schemes and their development in the years ahead. Work on the development of a new funding scheme has been prioritised by my Department and consultations with youth services are continuing with a view to introducing the new youth funding programme in line with the review. The Deputy will also be aware that my Department has commenced a review of the Youth Service Grant Scheme. This review is intended to enhance its accountability, transparency and outcome measurement. It is also seeking to determine how best to meet the ever evolving needs of young people.

My Department works closely with the youth work sector, the voluntary youth services, the Education and Training Boards, other government departments and agencies and consults with young people themselves in the development and delivery of policies and services for children and young people.

For the above reasons, it is not my intention to reconvene the National Youth Work Advisory Committee while the reform process is ongoing. However, officials from my Department intend to facilitate a meeting with representatives of the youth sector with a view to agreeing objectives and identifying opportunities where my Department can best engage with the youth sector to ensure the best possible outcomes for young people. Given the seismic changes which have occurred over the past sixteen years, my Department will be revisiting the Youth Work Act, 2001 on the conclusion of the reform process, to ensure that it fully articulates the needs of young people in Ireland.

Departmental Bodies Data

 495. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Information on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Zoom on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the State bodies or boards that fall under the remit of her Department; and the number of members of each State body or board that are not qualified within the field in which the board or body has oversight. [43410/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I can inform the Deputy that the bodies under the aegis of my Department are the Child and Family Agency (Tusla), the Adoption Authority of Ireland (AAI), the Ombudsman for Children's Office (OCO) and the Oberstown Children Detention School Campus (OCDC). My Department also provides the primary source of funding for Gaisce, the President's Award. Gaisce is a limited company set up under the Companies Acts. All of these bodies except for the Ombudsman for Children's Office have boards. Details of the boards in question are published on the Stateboards.ie website.

  The members of the Boards are appointed in line with Government Guidelines on Appointment to State Boards and the governing legislation or, in the case of Gaisce, the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the company. This includes any requirements in relation to professional qualifications. An example of this would be the AAI. The Adoption Act 2010 specifies the professional qualifications required of the members of the board. The Guidelines also involve a process whereby my Department, in consultation with the chair of the board, will identify the relevant qualifications and competencies required for a particular board vacancy or across the composition of the Board. The advertisement and selection process under the Government Guidelines, in conjunction with the Public Appointments Services, ensure that these criteria are met.

Early Childhood Care and Education

 496. Deputy Jack Chambers Information on Jack Chambers Zoom on Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone if her attention has been drawn to the fact that some child care providers are only offering sessional rates for parents in excess of the three hours covered by the new ECCE scheme resulting in higher rates for parents; her plans to provide a solution to this issue in order that parents can afford to cover childcare costs; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43485/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The ECCE programme is a three hour educational programme funded by my Department. Any fees for childcare hours over and above the ECCE hours is at the discretion of the service provider. Registered providers may offer an additional 30 minutes per day but this must be offered on a optional basis to parents and uptake of the additional time must not be a condition of initial or continued enrolment in the ECCE programme. A registered provider offering sessional hours only would be found non-complaint with the programme rules when inspected by Pobal.

If a parent requires ECCE only, and is having difficulties finding such a place, their local city/county childcare committee can provide them with assistance.

Child and Family Agency Services

 497. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the capacity of a centre (details supplied). [43517/17]

 498. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the number of children currently placed in a centre (details supplied) on foot of a secure care order. [43518/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I propose to take Questions Nos. 497 and 498 together.

  I have been advised by Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, that the centre referred to has the capacity to cater for 10 children. Currently, there are 5 young people placed in the centre on foot of a secure care order.

Community Childcare Subvention Programme

 499. Deputy Niamh Smyth Information on Niamh Smyth Zoom on Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone if she will review a matter (details supplied); if she will address the concerns of the person; the steps she is taking to assist on these issues; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43550/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Over the course of the past year and beyond, my Department has been working to build a childcare system that is based on principles of affordability, accessibility and quality.

The increase in supports I have provided for the 2017/18 Programme year represents a major step towards accessible, affordable, quality childcare after decades of neglect and under-investment by successive Governments.

There are two supports being rolled out under the Community Childcare Subvention (CCS and CCSP) Schemes. These include universal (non means tested supports) of up to €1,040 per year, and enhanced supports of up to €7,500 to assist families to return to work and training. All of the supports are equally accessible between community and private providers.

The specific rules around the CCS schemes including eligibility has been constructed and layered to ensure that those most in need receive the highest level of subvention.

My Department received a high volume of calls from parents looking to know where they could access the new universal subsidy. A list of services that have signed the CCSP contract (which enables access to the universal subsidy) was added to the website for the convenience of parents and support agencies. It was decided that to include all of the schemes to the list would confuse matters when the majority of the traffic to the site and queries related to the universal subsidy.

I recognise the pressures on childcare providers and I have provided €3.5 million towards 'non contact time' for all childcare providers who register for the enhanced childcare measures. This, in addition to the €14.5 million that has been already paid to childcare services so far in 2017 in recognition of the administration associated with ECCE and other schemes.

My Department has also worked to enhance access to the schemes by changing the former CCS Private Scheme to the expanded CCS Plus Scheme through which community providers can opt to register children for holiday periods and children for the universal scheme.

My Department is also working to streamline the registration process in consultation with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

I am committed to ensuring that our childcare subvention schemes meet the needs of children, parents and providers. My Department will continue to review the CCS scheme and ensure that the rules are clear and well communicated. I will take on board the detailed comments set out in correspondence and my officials will consider the issues raised and will respond in more detail to each issue raised.

Child and Family Agency Services

 500. Deputy John McGuinness Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone her plans for a protocol for Tusla to follow relative to its communication with its clients, foster families and so on; if the organisation can provide an efficient response to those that contact it and persons and families that deal regularly with its staff and social workers; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43586/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I thank the Deputy for raising this matter. I take it from the Deputy's question that he is seeking further clarification relating to Tusla's communications practice and protocol, as it relates to contact with clients and other parties. The Deputy recently tabled a similar question relating to Tusla's complaints handling mechanism, and I set out in some detail the approach which Tusla is taking in this area.

  Tusla is committed to following the twelve principles of Quality Customer Service, adopted by Government in the Irish Public Service Modernisation Programme, by developing and implementing best practice models of customer care, and promoting service user involvement throughout the Agency. This concept is used as a guide in Tusla's "Tell Us: You Say, We Listen" complaints policy.

  All policies developed by Tusla contain key messages for staff on how to interact with children and young people, and their families, in line with Tusla’s core values of respect, trust and empathy. Policies also provide guidance on when communication needs to take place and, in some instances, specific time frames are set out.

  Tusla has recently appointed a new Head of Communications with responsibility for Tusla's corporate communications strategy. In the interim, a number of measures have been put in place to effect more proactive internal engagement and engagement with external stakeholders, such as foster parents. The new strategy, when fully developed, will include an External Communications Plan and a Stakeholder Engagement Plan.

  Tusla aims to provide all children and families with a timely, proportionate and appropriate response to their queries. If the Deputy has a specific issue on which he would like clarification, I would be happy to take this up with Tusla on his behalf.

Child and Family Agency Services

 501. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the operational status of a child and adolescent residential facility (details supplied) in County Donegal; if the unit remains closed; when it is expected to re-open to service users; if the centre will continue to operate as a residential facility going forward; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [43598/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I have been advised by Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, that at this time the centre concerned is not being used as a residential childcare facility. The purpose and function of this centre is currently under review with the relevant stakeholders..

Departmental Agencies Staff Recruitment

 502. Deputy Seamus Healy Information on Seamus Healy Zoom on Seamus Healy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the status of the appointment of members to fill the vacancies on the council of Gaisce, the President’s award, in view of the fact that the original advertisement stated that three of the seven vacant positions were only until February 2018; if this is still the case in view of the fact that the positions are still vacant; if all positions will be for a three-year term; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [43617/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I am pleased to inform the Deputy that all successful candidates were written to last week.

Child Care Services

 503. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone her plans to initiate a national discussion on a long-term strategy to transform the childcare sector into a public service. [43647/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone There are presently no specific plans to initiate a national long term consultation process on the future service delivery model for the early years sector in this country. However, a number of fundamental developments are taking place which are critical to the future of childcare.

My Department is currently in the process of preparing Ireland's first dedicated Early Years Strategy, as committed to in Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures. My officials are also preparing a tender document to commission a review of the structural elements of the early years sector at national level.

My Department recently commissioned Crowe Howarth to conduct an independent review of the cost of delivering high quality childcare in Ireland.

The Programme for Government contains 14 commitments relating to high quality and affordable childcare. Over the last three budgets we have increased funding in childcare by 87%. Notwithstanding this, Ireland remains one of the most expensive countries in the OECD for childcare and clearly more investment and planning is required.

National Lottery Funding Disbursement

 504. Deputy Pat Deering Information on Patrick Deering Zoom on Patrick Deering asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the amount of funding per annum a charity (details supplied) received for 2016 or the nearest available year; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43660/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone My Department operated a discretionary National Lottery Funding Scheme some years ago in which grants were allocated to community groups and programmes to support children, young people and families. The scheme closed in 2014. The organisation in question last received a sum of €7,000 from my Department in 2013 to provide training resources for child contact centres.

The child contact centres were set up under a pilot project operated by Barnardos and One Family from October 2011 to December 2013. I have made contact with the Minister for Justice and Equality regarding the final evaluation report of the pilot project, suggesting that our two Departments would jointly review the evaluation report in light of changing infrastructural arrangements such as the establishment of the Child and Family Agency and the proposed Family Courts Service, and consider its recommendations accordingly.

Child and Family Agency Expenditure

 505. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone further to Parliamentary Question No. 197 of 21 September 2017, the proportion of the €14,569,718.70 expenditure on legal fees by Tusla in 2016 which was spent on external legal counsel; the firms employed by Tusla to provide same; and the total value of fees that accrued to each firm.  [43684/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone As indicated to the Deputy previously, expenditure by Tusla on legal matters is not a direct financial transaction of my Department and as such the Department does not routinely hold information in respect of individual legal costs incurred by the agency. In the circumstances I am requesting Tusla to contact the Deputy directly in relation to the matter she has raised.

Affordable Childcare Scheme Eligibility

 506. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone if flexibility will be given in circumstances in which a family has a child in a crèche and it has signed up to the affordable childcare scheme and the parent works three days one week and two days the second week but the provider does not allow flexible options and will only allow the child register for the scheme for only two days each week, hence the family loses out; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [43725/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Childcare provisions in my Department operate to support parents to access employment and to meet the needs and well-being of children. It is considered to be in the best interests of children to have regular and consistent patterns of childcare and our systems are set up with this in mind.

In certain exceptional circumstances, we do allow for unusual arrangements, but as currently constructed we cannot facilitate all possible permutations of childcare. Our system operates on the basis of fixed weekly patterns. This may be something that my Department can review for future programme cycles as unfortunately, it is not possible to make major system changes after the operational commencement of a childcare programme.

Youth Services Funding

 507. Deputy John Curran Information on John Curran Zoom on John Curran asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone if she will increase funding to an organisation (details supplied) which saw a funding reduction of 20% from 2010 to 2017, inclusive, while at the same time the organisation grew by 35%; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [43760/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone In 2017, funding of €57.4m has been provided to my Department for various youth schemes, an increase of €5.5m over 2016. The additional funding is being used for programmes that target disadvantaged young people and to assist national youth organisations in their work to support local voluntary youth services. My Department administers a range of funding schemes and programmes to support the provision of youth services to young people throughout the country including those from disadvantaged communities. These schemes include the Youth Service Grant Scheme, amounting to €10.65m in 2017, under which funding is made available on an annual basis to thirty national and major regional youth organisations. This funding is intended to ensure the emergence, promotion, growth and development of youth organisations with distinctive philosophies and programmes aimed at the social education of young people.

Scouting Ireland receives grant aid on an annual basis under the Youth Service Grant Scheme. In 2017, €876,337 was allocated to the organisation under the Scheme, a 5% increase over the 2016 allocation.

Over the past few years, Scouting Ireland has received significant funding outside of the Youth Service Grant Scheme. The organisation was allocated €150,000 in current funding in 2015 and a further €200,000 in Dormant Accounts funding in 2016 to support the Operation Lelievlet youth employment initiative. It received €49,630 under the capital funding scheme for youth projects and services in 2016 to fund the improvement of disability access and security at Scouting Ireland. In 2015 €30,000 was also provided to the organisation to assist it with its budget sustainability to the year end.

In addition to the grant funding provided to Scouting Ireland in 2017 an additional application for funding has been received for funding for its AcadaMoot Programme and this application is currently under consideration within my Department.

Family Resource Centres

 508. Deputy John Curran Information on John Curran Zoom on John Curran asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone further to the announcement in budget 2018 of €40 million additional funding for Tusla, the amount the additional funding to be allocated to family resource centres; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43761/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I am pleased to inform the Deputy that Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, will receive an additional €40.6 million in funding next year. This will bring Tusla's allocation to over €753 million in 2018.

Arising from Budget 2018, I will shortly be issuing Tusla with its 2018 Performance Statement in line with the provisions of the Child and Family Agency Act, 2013. Tusla will, in response to the Performance Statement, prepare a Business Plan for 2018 which will be submitted to me for consideration.

The precise level of funding to be allocated to the Family Resource Centre Programme will be considered by Tusla, in preparing its Business Plan, having regard to the overall level of funding available in 2018, which will exceed €753 million.

It is not my intention to prescribe the overall level of funding to be allocated by Tusla to the Family Resource Centre Programme. It is more appropriate, in my view, that Tusla first sets out its proposals for this important service area, having regard to its statutory remit and taking account of the totality of funding available next year.

However, I can confirm that there will be a significant increase in funding for the Programme within the overall increase of over €40 million, including the addition of 11 Family Resource Centres to the Programme. There will be also be increased funding to support the existing Family Resource Centres across the country.

I very much appreciate the role that Family Resource Centres play in offering early intervention support to vulnerable children and families in demographically diverse communities around the country. I am pleased to be in a position to support the work of centres through the targeting of additional resources to services that will impact positively on vulnerable children and families.

Question No. 509 answered with Question No. 63.

Question No. 510 answered with Question No. 52.

Question No. 511 answered with Question No. 37.

Question No. 512 answered with Question No. 48.

Question No. 513 answered with Question No. 57.

Affordable Childcare Scheme Implementation

 514. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the uptake of the affordable childcare scheme rolled out in September 2017, by area and cost of subsidies; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [43797/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I am committed to ensuring that childcare is affordable, accessible and of a high quality.

  The increase in supports I have provided for the 2017/2018 programme year represents a major step towards accessible, affordable, quality childcare after decades of neglect and under-investment by successive Governments. There are two supports being rolled out under the Community Childcare Scheme. These include universal (non means tested supports) of up to €1,040 per year, and enhanced supports of up to €7,500 targeted to assist families to return to work and training.

  So far in 2017/2018 the number of registrations submitted by service providers is as follows:

  - targeted schemes (CCS, CCSP and TEC): 25,775 children

  - The universal scheme (CCSU): 25,339 children

  It should be noted that for most of the programmes, providers can continue to register children throughout the year and children may enter the programmes at different times. My Department projects that almost 60,000 children will avail of the targeted and universal schemes (excluding ECCE).

  The number of service providers that have signed up to deliver the affordable childcare scheme, which includes the universal element, is 3,199.

  As the expanded schemes only commenced in their current form from Sept 2017, I am providing the estimated cost for September to December 2017 and also for the full fiscal year 2018. These are

  - €32.9m for the targeted childcare schemes in 2017 and €75.2m in 2018

  - €7.4m for the universal scheme in 2017 and €16.8 in 2018

  This represents an investment of €40.3m from September to December 2017 and €92m for the full year 2018.

  I would also note that 86,711 children have signed up so far to the free preschool scheme (ECCE) for this programme year, 2017/18. There are three cumulative registration cycles for ECCE and this intake is only the first cycle. In 2016/2017 over 120,000 children registered for ECCE.

Child Care Services Funding

 515. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone if she will report on the €35 million allocated to her Department for childcare schemes in budget 2017; the schemes it funded; if she will provide a breakdown of funding for the different schemes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43798/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone In Budget 2017 I was pleased to secure a gross funding allocation for my Department of €1,286 million, representing an increase of €172 million on 2016.

€466 million in 2017 has been allocated to Childcare. The primary components of this spend are capitation for the Early Childhood Care and Education Scheme (ECCE) at €278 million, capitation for the targeted schemes including the Community Childcare Subvention Scheme (CCS) and the Training and Employment Childcare Programmes (TEC) at €92 million and funding for the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) at €32 million. The remainder of the funding has been assigned to administration costs in respect of these schemes, in addition to providing for a range of capital and programme support measures. This level of funding represents a significant investment in the childcare sector, and is intended to facilitate the continuing development of quality, affordable and accessible childcare.

As the year progresses my Department will continue to manage expenditure within the allocation agreed by the Dáil in the 2017 Estimates in order to deliver my Department’s agreed objectives.

Child and Family Agency Investigations

 516. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone further to Parliamentary Question No. 183 of 27 September 2017, if further information has been received by Tusla; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43832/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I am aware that the Deputy provided more information to allow Tusla, the Child and Family Agency to examine the issues concerned. I am advised that the information was not sufficient enough to allow the report to be sourced. Therefore, in order to facilitate further searches, I would request that the Deputy please provide further detailed information to my Department.


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