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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 1102-1124
 Header Item Child and Family Agency Services
 Header Item Family Resource Centres
 Header Item Medical Aids and Appliances Provision
 Header Item Strategic Communications Unit
 Header Item Departmental Websites
 Header Item Departmental Websites
 Header Item Departmental Staff Data
 Header Item Departmental Staff Training
 Header Item Public Relations Contracts Data
 Header Item Departmental Funding
 Header Item Brexit Negotiations
 Header Item Departmental Contracts Data
 Header Item After-School Support Services
 Header Item Departmental Staff Data
 Header Item Child Care Services
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Tribunals of Inquiry
 Header Item Departmental Funding
 Header Item Early Childhood Care and Education Programmes
 Header Item Child Care Services Administration
 Header Item Child and Family Agency
 Header Item Child and Family Agency Staff
 Header Item Family Law Cases

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 961 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 119 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 1102-1124

Child and Family Agency Services

 1102. 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 Questions Nos. 497 and 498 of 17 October 2017, if she has been provided with the reason the centre is operating at 50% capacity; if the decision to reduce capacity was taken by her or the director of the centre and or by Tusla; the basis on which this decision was made; the steps that need to be taken to restore the centre to full capacity; the anticipated timelines for same; the number of children who meet the stringent criteria for a placement in special care; the number of children on the waiting list for such a placement; and the steps her Department and Tusla are taking to honour their legal obligations to meet the assessed needs of children on waiting lists for a secure care placement and who cannot be maintained safely in other forms of community setting.  [45955/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Special care is where a young person is detained in a secure setting on foot of a High Court order restricting the liberty of a young person. This is an intervention used on an exceptional basis where there is evidence that the behaviour of the young person is such that it poses a substantial risk of harm to his or her life, health, safety, development or welfare unless they are placed in special care.

I am advised that while the centre referred to by the Deputy has the capacity to cater for ten young people, it has been operating at a reduced capacity of five young people since 2016. The decision was made at the time by senior management due to various reasons which included the risk profile of the young people placed in the centre, the progression of building works and staff recruitment issues.

I can inform the Deputy that there is an ongoing recruitment campaign by Tusla to increase staffing levels in special care units. I am advised that when staffing levels have been increased to appropriate levels the numbers of young people will increase accordingly. Timelines are dependent on the recruitment process.

I am advised that as of the 27th October 2017 there were five young people on the waiting list for special care intervention. I am pleased to inform the Deputy that another special care unit will be opening the week of 6th November, and two young people will be admitted at that time.

While awaiting a special care intervention, the young person's allocated social worker is responsible for ensuring that Tusla fulfil their statutory obligations to young people in their care.

Family Resource Centres

 1103. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone if she will meet with family resource centres to address concerns (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45960/17]

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 additional funding of approximately €5.0m is being made available to Tusla, the Child and Family Agency to be spent between now and the end of 2018 to support the work of Family Resource Centres.

  This includes the provision of additional funding to Tusla to expand the existing Family Resource Centre Programme. A total of 11 centres will be added to the Family Resource Centre Programme in 2018. Details of the application process for this funding are available on Tusla's website, www.tusla.ie.

  Tusla is also being provided with additional funding in 2018 to support the existing 109 Family Resource Centres across the country. Centres will be asked to work with their local Tusla office to identify services needed in their community. Up to €10,000 will be available to each Family Resource Centre next year subject to approval of their proposal.

  I am also pleased to announce that my Department is providing exceptional, once-off funding for Family Resource Centres to be spent by the end of this year. This funding will be in the form of minor capital assistance. Details of the application process for this funding are available on Tusla's website, www.tusla.ie. Applications will be assessed by Tusla and the deadline for applications is Thursday, 9th November 2017.

  Tusla administers the Family Resource Centre Programme. As the Family Resource Centre Programme is managed by Tusla, it is a matter for that organisation to make decisions regarding the individual funding allocations of Family Resource Centres within the programme.

  Family Resource Centres are independent organisations. They are managed by a Voluntary Board of Management which is representative of the local community. The centres operate independently of Tusla and each individual centre is responsible for the recruitment of employees and the terms and conditions under which they are employed.

  I am happy 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.

Medical Aids and Appliances Provision

 1104. Deputy James Browne Information on James Browne Zoom on James Browne asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the estimated cost of the provision of a defibrillator in each public building owned by her Department and agency under the aegis of her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45978/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The cost of a defibrillator varies depending on the actual model. My own Department is located in one headquarters building and I can confirm that there are already two defibrillators in place which is considered sufficient.

  As the installation of a defibrillator is an operational matter for individual agencies under the aegis of my Department, I have requested that the agencies involved respond directly to the Deputy. I can however, confirm that there is a defibrillator in place at the headquarters building for the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes.

  The deferred reply under Standing Order 42A was forwarded to the Deputy.

Strategic Communications Unit

 1105. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the meetings of the strategic communications unit she or her Department officials attended; the date and location of each such meeting; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45986/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I can inform the Deputy that I have not attended any meeting of the strategic communications unit. One of my officials at the grade of Assistant Secretary General attended one meeting on 22nd August 2017 in the offices of the Department of the Taoiseach in Government Buildings.

Departmental Websites

 1106. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the last time her Department's website was revamped or remodelled; the cost of same; if she or her Department officials have been consulted regarding creating one stand-alone online Government portal website; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46003/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The structure of the website of my Department is unchanged since the establishment of the Department in June 2011. As required new sections may be added to the website to reflect policy developments.

  I am aware of existing websites, www.gov.ie via which the websites of Government Departments and related bodies may be accessed, and the State's Open Data portal www.data.gov.ie. In relation to the latter, my Department is involved in the State's Open Data Strategy 2017 - 2022, which is led by my colleague the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform; which aims to improve the quality, quantity and range of datasets available, and improve the range of services available, on the national Open Data portal.

Departmental Websites

 1107. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the investment in her Department’s website since 2011 including total associated costs incurred; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46020/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone My Department was established on 2nd June, 2011. Below are the costs of website development since then.

  Website Development

Year Payment to Expenditure
2012 Fusio Ltd.

(Website development for Children's Referendum)
€8,755.38
  Penhouse Design

(Design of site for Children's

Referendum)
€799.50
  Fusio Ltd.

(Website development for Inventory of Data Sources on Children's Lives)
€6,827.00
  Penhouse Design

(Design of site for Inventory of Data Sources on Children's Lives)
€9,218.00
  Fusio Ltd.

(Update to the Children's Database)
€492.00
2013 Fusio Ltd.

(Website development for Comhairle na nÓg)
€17,589.00
2014/

2015
Centre for Effective Services (Development of website for Children and Young People's Services Committees) €7,000.00
2015 Penhouse Design

(Update of Inventory of Data Sources on Children's Lives site)
€3,259.50
2016 Fusio Ltd.

(Website development for Access and Inclusion Model)
€3,321.00
2017

To date
Persuasion Republic Communications Ltd

(website development cost for affordablechildcare.ie website)
€6,360.00

Departmental Staff Data

 1108. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the number of Department staff in her press office; the reporting relationship in operation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46037/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone My Department's Press Office consists of 1 Executive Officer and 1 Clerical Officer, who assist my media advisor. My Department does not have a Press Officer or engage any external service provider on that role.

Departmental Staff Training

 1109. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the protocol for attendance by staff, both civil servants and political non-civil servants, to continuing professional development programmes and courses; the number of staff, both civil servants and political non-civil servants, in her Department who participated in such programmes on an annual basis in each of the years from 2011 to 2016 and to date in 2017; the costs incurred by her Department for persons who participated in these courses; the providers of all such courses; the subject areas of all courses and programmes provided, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [46054/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone My Department supports staff to continue their professional development in their chosen profession through payment of fees to attend various courses and programmes and also payment of subscription and membership fees to the relevant professional bodies.

 Details of continuous professional development costs from 2011 to date are set out in the following table:

Year No. of civil servants No. of political non civil servants Costs incurred by Department Subject area of courses and programmes Providers of courses and programmes
2011 0 0 0 0 0
2012 0 0 0 0 0
2013 2 0 €430.00 Accountancy

Audit
Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)

Institute of Public Administration ( IPA)
2014 4 0 €9140.84 Social Work

Finance

Legal

Audit
British Association for the Study and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (BASPCAN)

Public Affairs Ireland (PAI)

Institute of Public Administration ( IPA)

Law Society of Ireland

Ashville Media Group
2015 8 0 €8551.78 Social Work

Accountancy

Legal

Audit
British Association for the Study and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (BASPCAN)

Health & Social Care Professionals Council (CORU)

Irish Association of Social Workers (IASW)

The Institute of Certified of Public Accountants (CPA)

Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)

Kings Inn

Law Society of Ireland

Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)

Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) Training Ltd

Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)

Association for Criminal Justice Research and Development LTD (ACJRD)

Institute of Public Administration ( IPA)

ERA Academy of European Law
2016 8 0 €5431.81 Social Work

Accountancy

Legal

Audit
Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) Training Ltd

The Bessborough Centre

Health & Social Care Professionals Council (CORU)

Irish Association of Social Workers (IASW)

International Society for the Prevention of Child and Neglect (ISPCAN)

British Association for the Study and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (BASPCAN)

Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)

Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) Training Ltd

University College Dublin

Law Society of Ireland

ERA Academy of European Law

International Compliance Professionals Association (ICPA)

Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)

Social Research Association

Cantwell Media Group
2017 7 0 €10,747.70 Social Work

Accountancy

Legal

Audit

Finance
Conference Partners Ltd

PDP Conferences

Falconbury

Barnardos Guardian Ad Litem Service

Health & Social Care Professionals Council (CORU)

CMJ Professional Training

Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors

Institute of Public Administration ( IPA)

Law Society of Ireland

ERA Academy of European Law

Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)

CPD Accountancy Training

Public Relations Contracts Data

 1110. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the public relations companies or agencies the services of which her Department used for information campaigns since 1 January 2017; and the costs incurred to date in 2017. [46071/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Details of the expenditure incurred directly by my Department since January 2017 are set out in the following table:

Company Amount
Mandy Johnson €4,750
Persuasion Republic €5,867.10
Total €10,617.10

Departmental Funding

 1111. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the steps she has taken to ensure that grant-aided organisations are spending their moneys appropriately in view of the revelations regarding a charity (details supplied) in 2016; if her attention has been drawn to concerns relating to organisations funded by her Department; if so, the action she has taken; if her Department has issued new procedures regarding the use of credit cards; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46088/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone My Department provides funding directly to a wide range of organisations, ranging from statutory agencies under the aegis of my Department to community, voluntary and other organisations. All are engaged in the provision of specific services to children and young people. In discharging funds, my Department operates within the overall framework of Circular 13/2014 - Management of and Accountability for Grants from Exchequer Fund. This Circular outlines the public financial management principles, procedures and additional reporting requirements to be followed in the management of grant funding provided from public money. The overall principle is that there should be transparency and accountability in the management of public money, in line with economy, efficiency and effectiveness.

  The Circular sets out detailed requirements, both for the grantor and for the grantee of any public funds. The operation of the Circular recognises that a differentiated approach needs to be adopted depending on the level and type of grant payment to ensure proper administration of the funding. All organisations, regardless of size of funding, who receive grants either directly or indirectly from my Department, are informed of their responsibilities under the Circular and of the specific financial reporting and performance reporting expected of them in respect of the funding they receive. For example, the very detailed financial and performance reporting required of statutory agencies reporting directly to my Department such as Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, are very different to those applied to a small community organisation receiving a once-off minor grant.

  The Circular also provides a useful Statement of Principle for Grantees which sets out 4 clear principles applying to bodies in receipt of grant funding either directly or indirectly from Exchequer funds. The guiding principles are

1. Clarity - e,g, understand the purpose and conditions attaching to the funding and the outputs required;

2. Governance - e.g. ensuring appropriate governance arrangements are in place with particular reference to the control and safeguarding of funds from misuse, misappropriation and fraud;

3. Value for Money - e.g. be in a position to provide evidence on the effective use of the funding and avoiding waste and extravagance; and

4. Fairness - e.g. managing public funds with the highest degree of honesty and integrity.

Brexit Negotiations

 1112. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the details of all planning and research work under way for the impact of the result of Brexit negotiations in her Department or related State agencies; if this analysis is intended for publication; the expected completion and publication date respectively of this research, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [46114/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone As Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade with special responsibility for Brexit, Minister Coveney has responsibility for coordinating the whole-of-Government response to Brexit. In this capacity, he is working closely with his colleagues across Government to address the many challenges resulting from Brexit. This cooperation also involves the relevant State Agencies.

Work at Cabinet level is being prepared through cross-Departmental coordination structures. These represent a frequent and active channel through which all relevant Departments are providing their research, analysis and overall policy input to the Government’s wider response to Brexit, including its priorities for the ongoing Article 50 negotiations between the EU and the UK.

As the outcome of the negotiations is not yet known, an important focus of the planning and preparation being undertaken through these structures is on deepening the Government’s analysis and understanding of the exact consequences of a range of different possible scenarios. This represents an intensification of efforts to build on the Government‘s contingency planning.

With regard to my own Department, the Deputy will be aware that in January of this year I hosted an all-Ireland sectorial dialogue with young people, members of the Advisory Council for Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures: The National Policy Framework for Children and Young People 2014-2020, and other stakeholders in Croke Park to discuss the potential impact of Brexit on the lives of children and young people on the island of Ireland. The key findings of this important event have been published in a report which is available on my Department’s website. Since then, the Advisory Council has considered the report and work is ongoing in relation to the more detailed implications of Brexit.

Furthermore, matters in relation to Brexit were discussed by over 100 children and young people in April of this year as part of the annual regional Comhairle na nÓg Networking events. This has enabled my Department to identify those issues which may impact on children and young people, post-Brexit, and indeed identify other issues which resonate strongly with our youngest citizens.

The consultation and research undertaken to date by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs has identified a number of issues of potential concern should negotiations between the EU and UK not conclude successfully. However, these matters are small subsets of much larger items which will be considered, in the main, in conjunction with colleagues in the Departments of Finance, Justice and Equality, Education and Health as part of the wider negotiating process.

Departmental Contracts Data

 1113. Deputy David Cullinane Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the contracts her Department or bodies under the aegis of her Department have with a company (details supplied) or its subsidiaries; the value of the contracts; the year in which the contracts were concluded; when the contracts will be up for renewal; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46367/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I can confirm to the Deputy that my Department, Mother and Baby Homes Commission, Oberstown Children Detention Campus and Adoption Authority of Ireland have no current contracts with the company in question or its subsidiaries.

  I have requested Túsla and the Ombudsman for Children to respond directly to the Deputy.

After-School Support Services

 1114. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the progress to date regarding the introduction of a new system to support and expand quality after-school care for school aged children as set out in the programme for government; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [46417/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone My Department introduced measures in September with the aim of making childcare, including after school care, more affordable for parents and guardians. Funding for the Community Childcare Subvention Scheme (CCS), the After-School Child Care Programme (ASCC) and the Community Employment Childcare After-school programme (CEC AS) has been increased under these new measures.

My Department published both the Action Plan on School Age Childcare and the Report of Consultations with Children on After-School Care in March 2017. The Action Plan focuses specifically on school age childcare, and recognises the unique needs of this group. The Plan sets out the infrastructure my Department and others will put in place, over the next two or three years, that can be built on over the following years. The infrastructure will assist in opening up accessible, high quality, affordable school age more widely.

I have also established an expert working group to develop a comprehensive set of quality standards for School Age Childcare. The work of this expert group in ongoing.

In 2017 a Capital Funding programme for School-Age Childcare, was administered by Pobal on behalf of my Department. This capital programme has resourced 488 projects to provide an additional 5,000 school-age childcare places. Under Budget 2018 further capital investment has been secured for the coming year.

Officials in my Department are currently working on the Affordable Childcare Scheme. Its introduction will provide for subsidisation of childcare for children of various ages.

Departmental Staff Data

 1115. 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 names of the special advisers employed in her Department; the names of special advisers to junior Ministers in her Department; the annual salary of each adviser; if these persons were special advisers immediately prior to taking up their current role or immediately prior to the June 2017 Cabinet reshuffle; if so, the Minister to which they were appointed to; the date each special adviser was appointed with effect as stated in the Government order; the date of the Government order; if they received a salary for the period before the appointment order was signed in the case of special advisers whose appointment order date has an effect date earlier than the order date; if so, by whom they were paid; if a special adviser during a period later backdated by appointment order had access to confidential material and or Cabinet papers; if they were subject to the Official Secrets Act 1963 during this period; if any persons currently employed as special advisers have not yet been appointed by order since the Cabinet reshuffle of 2017; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [46462/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The names and annual salaries of my Special Advisers are set out below. These appointments and the remuneration applied were made in accordance with the Instructions for Ministerial Appointments as published by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in June 2016.

Name Salary
Patricia Ryan €91,716
Jerry O'Connor €91,716


  There are no junior Ministers appointed to my Department.

  As I retained my ministerial appointment to the Department of Children and Youth Affairs following the June 2017 Government appointments, both of my Special Advisers were re-appointed to the positions they held immediately prior to then.

  The Government Order (SI No 419 of 2017) which was signed on the 6th September 2017 gave effect to these appointments from 14th June 2017 and my Special Advisers continued to receive their salaries to the date that the Order was signed.

  On the basis of legal advice provided to me, I am satisfied that it is both permissible and common to apply statutory provisions of this nature retrospectively and that therefore there is no legal obstacle. Accordingly, it was in order that my Special Advisers continued to be paid to the time the Order was signed.

  Throughout this period, my Special Advisors functioned as they do now and they continued to be subject to the Official Secrets Act 1963.

  All of my Special Advisors have been appointed since the Government appointments of June 2017.

Child Care Services

 1116. Deputy Tom Neville Information on Tom Neville Zoom on Tom Neville asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone if she will address a matter regarding an application by a crèche (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46498/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Pobal have looked at the application, appraisal and appeal for this service. The service applied for Strand A under School Aged Capital.

Strand A was for completely new after schools services. The appraiser looked at the application with this in mind, the application stated that the service currently runs an after-school and breakfast club and provides transport.

It was deemed that, even though the service is going to now use a log cabin for the purposes of after-school, the fact that the current after-school service would be moving to the cabin, no new service was being created as the original one was closing down and would now be used for full day care children.

The appeals reviewer agreed with this assessment. This logic has been applied throughout the SAC capital grant this year, where an existing service was being closed to open another service it was deemed not to be “new” as no new places were created, this application would have been eligible for Strand B the expansion of an existing SAC service.

Departmental Expenditure

 1117. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the cost of photography in her Department since January 2017; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46536/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The amount spent by my Department on photography since January 2017 amounts to €912.66.

Tribunals of Inquiry

 1118. 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 her attention has been drawn to the fact that the person responsible for the review of the wrongful accusation of abuse against a person (details supplied) was provided with a set of files that was incomplete and lacked crucial documents; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46538/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The issue referred to by the Deputy is part of the evidence that was heard at the Disclosures Tribunal of Inquiry, which is chaired by the Hon. Mr. Justice Peter Charleton. It would not be appropriate for me to comment further while these matters are being examined under its terms of reference.

Departmental Funding

 1119. Deputy Peter Burke Information on Peter Burke Zoom on Peter Burke asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the supports her Department funds through Pobal; if funding is available for groups to fund resource centres; the way in which groups can apply for such funding; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46554/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone A number of supports in my Department are administered through Pobal. The largest of these is the Early Childhood Care and Education programme (ECCE) otherwise known as "free pre-school" provides children with their first formal experience of early learning prior to commencing primary school. The Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) is a model of supports designed to ensure that children with a disability can access the ECCE Programme. The key objective of AIM is to empower pre-school providers to deliver an inclusive pre-school experience.

  Pobal administers a number of targeted Early Years programmes that include;

  - Community Childcare Subvention (CCS).

  - Community Childcare Subvention Plus (CCSP).

  - Community Childcare Subvention Resettlement (CCSR).

  - Community Childcare Subvention Resettlement (Transitional) (CSSR(T)).

  - Training and Employment Childcare (TEC) Programmes. - The After-School Child Care Scheme (ASCC), Childcare Education and Training Support (CETS), and Community Employment Childcare (CEC) all fall under the TEC Programmes.

  The Programme Support Payment which will total €18 million by the end of 2017, was introduced to support all childcare providers with the additional administration involved in all of the above programmes.

  Pobal administers both the Early Years Capital funding and the School Age Capital Programme on behalf of my Department. The objective of Early Years Capital funding is to increase the number of childcare places in areas of greatest need and to contribute to improving the quality of early years provision. The School Age Capital Programme was first introduced in 2017, under the Action Plan on School Age Childcare, to support the provision of services aimed at school-going children.

  Pobal also facilitates The Youth Services Grant Scheme. This scheme amounting to over €10.65 million in 2017, provides funding on an annual basis to national and regional youth organisations. The 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.

  Pobal oversees the administration of the Comhairle na Óg Development Fund ("the Fund"). There are 31 Comhairlí in Ireland. Comhairle na nÓg is designed to enable young people to have a voice on the services, policies and issues that affect them in their local area.

  My Department is working alongside the Department of Health in the roll-out of the Healthy Ireland Fund to Children and Young People's Services Committees (CYPSC) in 2017. A joint targeted funding scheme, totalling €1 million is aimed at CYPSC's to support innovative, cross-sectorial, evidence based projects, programmes and initiatives that implement key national policies. Pobal administers this scheme on behalf of both Departments. CYPSC's are invited to apply to Pobal directly for such funding and funding is allocated following consideration of certain criteria.

  The Area Based Childhood (ABC) Programme is a prevention and early intervention initiative targeting investment in effective services to improve the outcomes for children and families living in 13 areas of disadvantage. It is a time-bound programme, co-founded by my Department and The Atlantic Philanthropies (Atlantic), with funding of over €31 million, for the period 2013-2017. Pobal is the joint managing agency with the Centre for Effective Services.

  Pobal has no involvement with funding of resource centres. Tusla, the Child and Family Agency is responsible for the Family Resource Centres throughout the country. My Department is providing the Agency with additional funding in 2018 to allow it to develop its capacity within the existing 109 Family Resource Centres and 11 new Family Resource Centres will be established and family support hubs set up. Details of the application process for this funding is available on Tusla's website, www.tusla.ie.

Early Childhood Care and Education Programmes

 1120. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the penalties applied to child care providers found to be in breach of ECCE programme rules, in particular those relating to the return of ECCE deposits in view of the case of persons (details supplied)  [46560/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The rules of the ECCE programme clearly state that a service may request a deposit from parents to secure a place but that this deposit must be returned to the parents once the registration is approved on the online registration system.

  In relation to the specific case referred to by the Deputy, I can confirm that officials from my Department have been in touch with the service in question, by letter, phone and email, requesting that they return the deposit to the children's parents.

  Given that it appears the provider in question has still not returned the fee, my officials are considering appropriate next steps.

Child Care Services Administration

 1121. Deputy Tom Neville Information on Tom Neville Zoom on Tom Neville asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone her views on a matter relating to a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46595/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone My Department funds City and County Childcare Committees (CCC) to support parents to identify suitable childcare places. My Department has raised this query with the relevant CCC who have noted they have a waiting list and are not in a position to provide further ECCE places.

  It is a matter for the provider to decide how they structure their service. The CCC has noted that other Creches in the locality may have available places.

  In addition, the family may wish to consider whether they are entitled to other forms of subvention. Again the CCC will be in a position to advise on this. The parents may also wish to consult www.affordablechildcare.ie.

Child and Family Agency

 1122. 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 the appeals process that is in place within Tusla; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46616/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I have requested information from Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. I will forward the reply to the Deputy once I have been furnished with this information.

  The following deferred reply was received under Standing Order 42A:

  I refer to your Parliamentary Question (46616/17), which was for reply on the 7th of November.

  I have made enquiries to Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, and have received the following Information.

  If a service user is dissatisfied with a social work decision, he or she may raise that Issue directly with the local team leader, principal social worker or area manager and/or avail of Tusla’s complaints procedure. Social work applications for care orders are subject to the Courts.

  In addition, appeals procedures apply to decisions taken by foster care committees and decisions to place children on the Child Protection Notification System.

  I have forwarded to you a copy of Tusla’s complaints and feedback procedures, and a guide to Tell Us, the formal complaints mechanism that exists within Tusla.

Child and Family Agency Staff

 1123. 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 the steps that are taken following the receipt of a complaint against Tusla; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46617/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I understand that the Deputy's question relates to complaints in relation to Tusla's Child Protection and Welfare services.

  Section 64 of the Child and Family Agency Act, 2013, requires Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, to establish procedures for dealing with complaints against the Agency or a service provider.

  Tusla introduced its complaints policy, "Tell Us: You Say, We Listen" in September 2016. All complaints received by Tusla, from this date, are managed under the "Tell Us" policy. Any individual who wishes to make a complaint about Tusla services can do so through the "Tell Us" complaints process. Contact details and further information are on Tusla's website www.tusla.ie. "Tell Us: You Say, We Listen " explains how complaints can be managed or feedback can be provided with a focus on local and speedy resolution. Where informal local resolution is not possible, a Complaints Officer will be appointed to examine the matter. This process takes up to 30 days. If it takes longer, the process provides for regular updates every 20 days. If, after that, a person remains dissatisfied with the recommendations of the investigation, they can either seek a review of their complaint by a Tusla review officer or contact the Ombudsman or Ombudsman for Children's Office. All complainants are advised of this.

  In order to ensure independence with regard to complaints investigations, "Tell Us" provides that a complaints officer should not be involved in managing a complaint about a matter in which they have had either a direct or indirect involvement. In such circumstance the complaint must be passed to another complaints officer not linked to the complaint.

  It should also be emphasised that Tusla follows the Children First National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children, 2017, in responding to all allegations of child protection and welfare concerns. In addition, since its approval in September 2014, a national policy, ‘Policy & Procedures for Responding to Allegations of Child Abuse & Neglect’, was implemented to ensure a standardised approach in responding to, and assessing, all child protection and welfare concerns relating to children.

Family Law Cases

 1124. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone if she will review the rights of fathers who wish to take an active role in their children's upbringing. [46638/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I would like to advise the Deputy that this is not a matter for this Department since The Department of Justice and Equality has responsibility for family law matters. The Deputy may ask my Cabinet colleague, Minister Flanagan to make a statement on this matter.


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