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Written Answers - Family Support Services

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 765 No. 3

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 432.  Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn  asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald  if his attention has been drawn to the concerns of management committees and staff of Family Resource Centres in Donegal about the impact of cuts to their annual budgets at a time when the demand on their services has never been higher and if he will assure them of the Government's commitment to keeping their vital service operational on an ongoing basis. [23910/12]

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 programme emphasises involving local communities in tackling the problems they face, and creating successful partnerships between voluntary and statutory agencies [471]at community level. 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 the administration and overhead costs associated with the day-to-day running of the centres, with the objective of supporting as far as possible, the services that the centres provide to families and groups at local level.

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. Earlier this month I visited Donegal and met with two groups from Family Resource Centres to discuss funding issues.


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