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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 566-584
 Header Item Departmental Contracts
 Header Item Child Protection
 Header Item Child Protection
 Header Item Child Care Costs
 Header Item Family Resource Centres
 Header Item Child and Family Agency
 Header Item Early Childhood Care and Education Funding
 Header Item Early Years Sector
 Header Item Child Care Costs
 Header Item Early Years Sector
 Header Item Early Years Sector
 Header Item Child and Family Agency Staff
 Header Item Child and Family Agency
 Header Item Child and Family Agency
 Header Item Action Plan for Rural Development Funding
 Header Item CLÁR Programme
 Header Item LEADER Programmes Funding
 Header Item Departmental Contracts

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 969 No. 7

First Page Previous Page Page of 98 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 566-584

Departmental Contracts

 566. Deputy Mick Wallace Information on Mick Wallace Zoom on Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone if she is satisfied that all contracts a company (details supplied) holds with her Department and State agencies under her aegis have been tendered for; if her attention has been drawn to contracts awarded to the company that have not been tendered for; if her attention has been further drawn to contracts awarded to the company that have rolled over; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21667/18]

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 has no active contracts with the company named in this question.

  The Adoption Authority of Ireland, Oberstown Children's Detention Centre and Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, has also confirmed they have no active contracts with the company. The Office of the Children's Ombudsman has been requested to reply directly to the Deputy on this matter.

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

Child Protection

 567. 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 if she will report on the development of multi-agency specialist child centres to deal with issues of child sex abuse; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23654/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone My Department is currently working to establish dedicated centres to support children who have suffered sexual abuse in a way that will minimise their trauma,  while allowing them to  access protective, therapeutic or health services, and to engage with the criminal justice system. My colleagues the Minister for Justice and Equality, Charles Flanagan and Minister for Health, Simon Harris, are in agreement with this approach. An interdepartmental group has been established  and met for the first time on 26 February 2018. It continues to meet every 4 weeks and will meet next on the 18th June.

A working title of ‘One House’ is being used for the  Irish model. The ‘One House’ will bring together the protection, health, immediate therapeutic supports and policing services and put in place child centred services that minimise, as far as possible, any additional trauma for the child and their family.

The group is chaired by my Department and also includes senior representatives from the Department of Health, Department of Justice and Equality, the Health Service Executive, An Garda Síochána and Tusla-Child and Family Agency. 

The aim of the group is the preparation for the establishment of a pilot centre early in 2019, through collaboration across the health, criminal justice and child protection sectors. The work of the group will then continue to monitor and support the functioning of the pilot with a view to building on the learning towards the development of a further 3 centres across the country.

Child Protection

 568. 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 if discussions have taken place in terms of synchronising or streamlining the contact between Garda and Tusla divisions in relation to dealing with cases of child abuse in view of the recommendation by the Garda Síochána Inspectorate; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [23655/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The Children First Joint Working Protocol for An Garda Síochána/Tusla- Child and Family Agency Liaison was published earlier this year to reflect the provisions in the new Children First Act 2015. The protocol covers respective responsibilities in key areas including:

  - Notifications of suspected abuse between both agencies

  - Role and function of each Agency

  - Confidentiality and information sharing

  - On-going case management liaison

  - Liaison management structures and meetings

  Section 10 of the protocol outlines the structures and arrangements for liaison between An Garda Síochána and Tusla at Local Area office and Garda district levels as well as the national structures that are in place. The protocol is available on Tusla’s website at www.tusla.ie.

Child Care Costs

 569. Deputy Denise Mitchell Information on Denise Mitchell Zoom on Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone when her Department’s independent cost review of the childcare sector which was scheduled to go to tender in September 2017 will be published. [23656/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The Independent Review of the Cost of Providing Quality Childcare is a critical input to the on-going reform of childcare in Ireland and is commitment in the Programme for Government.

  This Review seeks to:

  - Analyse the current costs of providing childcare in Ireland and factors that impact on those costs;

  - Develop a model of the unit cost/costs of providing childcare that allows analysis of policy changes and variation in cost-drivers, including the potential impact of increased professionalisation; and

  - Provide an objective, high level market analysis of the childcare sector in Ireland, including analysis of fee levels charged to parents.

  The contract to undertake this Review was awarded to Crowe Horwath in September 2017. Since then, a literature review, stakeholder engagement and an online survey has been completed. The closing date for receipt of completed surveys was 13th April. Over 800 completed surveys were received and analysis of these data has commenced.

  Once data analysis is completed, the results will feed into the development of a cost model and cost calculator for childcare provision.

  A report from this Review is expected in late June 2018. It is intended to publish this report thereafter.

Family Resource Centres

 570. Deputy Denise Mitchell Information on Denise Mitchell Zoom on Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the estimated cost of establishing ten new family resource centres; and the estimated full year cost of running these centres. [23657/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The Family Resource Centre Programme is administered by Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. At present there are 109 Family Resource Centres in operation throughout the country, and 11 additional centres will become operational by the end of 2018.

As the cost of establishing new Family Resource Centres and the estimated full year running costs of such centres, under the Family Resource Centre Programme, are a matter for Tusla, I have requested Tusla to respond directly to the Deputy on this matter.

Child and Family Agency

 571. Deputy Denise Mitchell Information on Denise Mitchell Zoom on Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the full year cost of employing an aftercare worker. [23658/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The latest information requested by the Deputy is not readily available. My officials have requested the information from Tusla and I will forward the reply to the Deputy once I have been furnished with it.

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

Early Childhood Care and Education Funding

 572. Deputy Denise Mitchell Information on Denise Mitchell Zoom on Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the estimated cost of increasing the higher and lower capitation grants under the ECCE scheme by €5, €10, €15 and €20 per child, per week in tabular form. [23662/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The ECCE capitation rates are currently as follows:

Capitation Rates:  
Standard: €64.50
Higher: €75.00


  The following table outlines the additional cost of increasing both ECCE capitation rates by the specified amounts from September 2018:
Increase: September - December 2018 January - December 2019
€5 €9.7m €21.6m
€10 €19.4m €43.2m
€15 €29.1m €64.7m
€20 €38.8m €86.3m


  The Department of Children and Youth Affairs secured a 7% increase in ECCE capitation rates in Budget 2018. This increase will come into effect from September 2018, with rates thereafter totalling €69 for Standard capitation and €80.25 for Higher capitation.

Early Years Sector

 573. Deputy Denise Mitchell Information on Denise Mitchell Zoom on Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the estimated cost of reinstating the childminding advisory service. [23663/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone It is estimated that some 20 Childminding Development Officers have exited the early years sector over the last number of years. The estimated cost of reinstating these posts on a like for like basis is in the region of €800,000 per annum. However, this estimate should be treated with a degree of caution owing to significantly changed landscape of the childcare sector since these officers were in place.

An expert working group report on child-minding was presented to Minister Katherine Zappone on 26 March 2018 which makes important recommendations on the childminding sector. The report, Pathway to a Quality Support and Assurance System for Childminding in Ireland, outlines a vision for the development of the childminding sector over the next decade. DCYA is currently considering the recommendations contained in the report and it is anticipated that an action plan containing short, medium, and long-term goals for the sector will be published within the next year. 

In this new environment and given the shifting context of the childcare environment in the last few years , the actual cost of reinstating a form of the childminding advisory officers would be difficult to estimate given that the profile and role of these officers would be significantly different from that of the previous officers . 

Child Care Costs

 574. Deputy Denise Mitchell Information on Denise Mitchell Zoom on Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the estimated cost under the affordable childcare scheme of increasing the monthly universal subsidy in €20 intervals up to €600 for all eligible parents. [23664/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I assume that the question relates to the new Affordable Childcare Scheme (ACS) that is currently being developed, rather than the universal subsidy that is currently available. The universal element of the ACS will match the existing provision and provide a €0.50 per hour subsidy for children aged 6-36 months, for up to a maximum of 40 hours per week. Only families who use the full 40 hours of childcare or more per week will receive the full €20 per week subsidy; families using part-time childcare will receive a pro rata subsidy.

  Based on DCYA projections that were used in the Regulatory Impact Analysis published last December, the expected cost of the universal element of the ACS is approximately €15m per year.

  The following table sets out the estimated cost of increasing the universal subsidy rate of €0.50 per hour in increments of €20 per month, i.e. €5 per week or 12.5 cent per hour, starting from a baseline of a maximum universal subsidy of €80 per month or €20 per week. The figures in the table assume the targeted subsidy rates within the Affordable Childcare Scheme would adjust to reflect the changes in the universal subsidy-rates, and the figures therefore indicate the additional cost for the scheme as a whole (both universal and targeted). The figures also follow assumptions used in the published Regulatory Impact Analysis as to the impact of changes in subsidy-rates on the demand for childcare and the number of beneficiaries of the ACS.

  The assumptions on which the table is based are subject to change as new data becomes available.

Maximum universal subsidy per month Maximum universal subsidy per week (40 hours) Estimated additional cost of ACS
€80 €20
€100 €25 €6m
€120 €30 €11m
€140 €35 €17m
€160 €40 €23m
€180 €45 €30m
€200 €50 €36m
€220 €55 €42m
€240 €60 €49m
€260 €65 €55m
€280 €70 €62m
€300 €75 €69m
€320 €80 €76m
€340 €85 €83m
€360 €90 €90m
€380 €95 €98m
€400 €100 €105m
€420 €105 €113m
€440 €110 €120m
€460 €115 €128m
€480 €120 €136m
€500 €125 €144m
€520 €130 €152m
€540 €135 €161m
€560 €140 €169m
€580 €145 €178m
€600 €150 €186m

Early Years Sector

 575. Deputy Denise Mitchell Information on Denise Mitchell Zoom on Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the number of inspectors employed by Tusla to inspect all services in the early years sector; and the total pay and non-pay costs of this service. [23666/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Tusla employs 45.28 Whole Time Equivalent (WTE) Early Years Inspectors. The total pay costs for 45.28 WTE Early Years Inspectors for the 4 month period January-April 2018 is €1.04 million. The total non-pay cost for 45.28 WTE Early Years Inspectors for the same period is €57,295.

Early Years Sector

 576. Deputy Denise Mitchell Information on Denise Mitchell Zoom on Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the amount of funding allocated to the Learner fund in 2017 and 2018; the number of practitioners who availed of places; and if all the funding allocated to the fund was availed of.  [23667/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The allocation for Learner fund in 2017 and 2018 was €3,000,000 and €2,388,000 respectively. The higher allocation in 2017 is accounted for by the addition of once off funding available in that year. An estimated 1,050 individuals in the sector benefited from Learner in 2017 alone. 

The Learner Fund was established to support the Early Years sector in meeting the minimum qualifications requirement introduced by the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016, and subsequently extended to support expansion of the ECCE programme by making provision for those wishing to achieve a Level 6 award.

The Learner Fund has achieved its initial purpose in that the workforce is now predominantly comprised of early years practitioners with the required minimum qualification. The Department now intends to shift its focus to supporting further professionalisation and continuous professional development (CPD), support that is necessary to improve the quality of childcare services and outcomes for children.

Learner funding was not fully utilised in 2017 due to a range of factors including the fact that its initial purpose had been achieved and hence demand reduced, and new arrangements for a CPD system had not been fully designed. In this regard, DCYA is progressing plans for significant investment in a broader continuing professional development model and a fuller announcement on this will be made in the near future.

At this time, it is not anticipated that any underspend will emerge in respect to the Learner Fund allocation in 2018. It might also be noted that DCYA has invested significantly in the upskilling of the workforce in both 2017 and 2018 through funding available under the Access and Inclusion Model.

Child and Family Agency Staff

 577. Deputy Denise Mitchell Information on Denise Mitchell Zoom on Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the estimated full year cost of recruiting 100 new professionally qualified social workers. [23668/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The latest information requested by the Deputy is not readily available. My officials have requested the information from Tusla and I will forward the reply to the Deputy once I have been furnished with it.

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

Child and Family Agency

 578. Deputy Denise Mitchell Information on Denise Mitchell Zoom on Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the estimated cost of implementing and supporting the aftercare plans held by persons who are 18 to 21 years of age by allocating 15 hours per week for a support worker in each case.  [23669/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I have requested that Tusla provide this estimated cost as soon as possible. I will revert to the Deputy when this is at hand.

Child and Family Agency

 579. Deputy Catherine Connolly Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the person or body that set the terms of reference in relation to a review (details supplied); the date on which the terms of reference were drawn up; the date on which the review commenced; when the review will be completed; if she is satisfied with the terms of reference and detail therein; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23685/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone As these matters relate to a review undertaken by the National Review Panel on behalf of Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, I have asked Tusla to respond directly to the Deputy.

Action Plan for Rural Development Funding

 580. Deputy Imelda Munster Information on Imelda Munster Zoom on Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring the allocation of funding under the outdoor recreation infrastructure scheme over the past 10 years, including 2018; and the expected allocation for 2019. [23381/18]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring The Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme is part of the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development and provides funding for the development of new outdoor recreational infrastructure or the necessary maintenance, enhancement or promotion of existing outdoor recreational infrastructure in Ireland. The scheme was introduced in 2016 as the Rural Recreation Scheme and operated in 2017 under its current title. 

  Under the 2016 scheme, funding of €7.4 million was provided for 117 projects to facilitate the development of new recreational facilities and the maintenance of existing recreational infrastructure throughout Ireland. This funding was provided to the Local Authorities, Local Development Companies and State Agencies.  

  Under the 2017 scheme, funding was provided under three separate measures as follows:

  Measure 1: Small Scale Maintenance/Promotion and Marketing 

  Measure 2: Medium Scale Repair/Upgrade and New Trail Development 

  Measure 3: Large Scale Repair/Upgrade and New Strategy Trail Development 

  Funding for a total of 219 projects under Measure 1 and Measure 3 was announced on 31st July 2017, to the value of €11.4 million.

  Funding for 32 projects under Measure 2 was announced on 8th January 2018, to the value of €2.2 million.

  I will shortly be launching a new round of funding for 2018 under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme and full details will be included in that announcement. The question of funding for the Scheme in 2019 will be addressed as part of the normal Budgetary process.  

CLÁR Programme

 581. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring if the application for CLÁR funding by a school (details supplied) in County Donegal will be considered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23112/18]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring CLÁR is a targeted capital investment programme for rural areas which have experienced significant levels of depopulation.

  I launched the 2018 CLÁR programme on the 15th of March last, with an indicative allocation of €5 million for qualifying projects under the following measures:

  Measure 1: Support for Schools/Community Safety Measures

  Measure 2: Play Areas/Multi-Use Games Areas

  Measure 3: First Response Support Measure

  The closing date for CLÁR 2018 was 30th April and I can confirm that an application has been received in respect of the school/Club referred to by the Deputy. However, more than 400 applications were received in total by my Department.

  My officials are currently assessing all applications received under the 2018 CLÁR programme and I hope to be in a position to announce the successful 2018 CLÁR projects in the coming weeks.

LEADER Programmes Funding

 582. Deputy Pat Casey Information on Pat Casey Zoom on Pat Casey asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring the amount paid for rural development Leader projects to the Wicklow LAG by year since 2011, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23140/18]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring The current LEADER Programme covers the period 2014 to 2020 and the funding allocated to County Wicklow for this period is €6,336,549.

  No project payments have been made to date in the Wicklow sub-regional area under the 2014-2020 LEADER programme. However, I understand that 17 projects with a value of over €313,000 have been approved for funding by the Wicklow Local Action Group (LAG) which administers the programme in the county, while a further 10 projects requesting over €481,000 in funding are at various stages in the approval process. Funding will be drawn down as these projects are completed and payment claims submitted. 

  The amount paid for LEADER projects in County Wicklow since 2011 under the previous LEADER 2007–2013 programme is provided Table1 below.

  Table 1: Project Payments to Wicklow LAG from 2011 under LEADER 2007-2013

LAG Total Projects 2011 Total Projects 2012 Total Projects 2013 Total Projects 2014 Total Projects 2015
Wicklow €788,690 €815,472 €1,680,474 €2,205,875 €507,867

Departmental Contracts

 583. Deputy Mick Wallace Information on Mick Wallace Zoom on Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring if he is satisfied that all contracts a company (details supplied) holds with his Department and State agencies under his aegis have been tendered for; if his attention has been drawn to contracts awarded to the company that have not been tendered for; if his attention has been further drawn to contracts awarded to the company that have rolled over; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21667/18]

 584. Deputy Mick Wallace Information on Mick Wallace Zoom on Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring his views on the number of contracts his Department and State agencies under his aegis hold with a company (details supplied) in view of its recent announcement regarding the need to raise an emergency €700 million; if contingency plans are in place if the company were to collapse; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21666/18]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring I propose to take Questions Nos. 583 and 584 together.

  My Department holds no contracts with the company in question.

  Four state bodies fall under the remit of my Department, Pobal, Irish Water Safety, the Western Development Commission and the Charities Regulatory Authority.

  Of these, one, the Charities Regulator, held one contract with the company in question for services in 2017. This contract was established as drawdown from a Department of Justice and Equality Tender agreement.

  The Charities Regulator also holds one contract with the company in question for services in 2018. as in the case of 2017, this contract was established as drawdown from a Department of Justice and Equality Tender agreement.

  My Department has been assigned overall policy responsibility for the Charities Regulator. However, the authority is fully independent in the performance of its statutory functions, including any decisions in relation to procurement matters.

  Accordingly, any contingency planning necessary with regards to contracts held by the Charities Regulator is a matter for that authority.


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