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Written Answers - Health Services

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 760 No. 3

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 532.  Deputy Tom Fleming Information on Tom Fleming Zoom on Tom Fleming  asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald  the way she intends maintaining the same level of vital services and employment for family resource centres in view of the cuts in their budgets for this year; and her plans for future years. [16072/12]

[927]Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The Family Support Agency, under my Department, operates the Family Resource Centre Programme. The aim of the Family Resource Centre Programme is to combat disadvantage and improve the functioning of the family unit. There are 107 family resource centres throughout the country funded under the programme.

The centres provide a range of services for families and groups at local level. These include information, education and training opportunities, childcare, breakfast, homework and after school clubs and services for young people at risk of substance abuse, for which funding is provided under programmes administered by several government departments and agencies. Family Resource Centres have an important role to play, in harnessing local community efforts, in support of improved outcomes for children and young people which is a key objective of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. On 5th December 2011, the Government announced the funding levels being made available to my Department in 2012. As part of the national effort to address Ireland’s fiscal deficit, the Family Support Agency, like all other State bodies, has been asked to make significant savings across all the programmes which it administers. The Agency is required to achieve savings of 5% per annum over 2012-2014 on the costs of the Family Resource Centre Programme.

The Family Support Agency has written to the family resources centres advising them of the reduction in funding and the need to plan for change. The Agency is acutely aware of the challenges that the reduction in funding raises for the family resource centres throughout the country. The Agency has not stipulated how centres should apply the reduction in funding. The family resource centres are asked to focus, in particular, on addressing the scope for greater efficiency and for reduction in operational and overhead costs associated with the day-to-day running of the centres, in order to support front line service provision as much as possible.

The Family Support Agency has advised that family resource centres should work with the two regional support agencies that provide support and training to them and are available to provide guidance to assist centres to manage within the resources available.

In 2012 an allocation of €26.465m has been made available to the Family Support Agency to fund its services for families. This includes funding of over €15m for the Family Resource Centre Programme. It has been decided that the Family Support Agency together with the programmes that it administers will be merged with the new Child and Family Support Agency on its establishment. Plans for the transition to the new body are under way in consultation with the Family Support Agency.

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