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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 217-225
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Capital Expenditure Programme
 Header Item Inter-Country Adoptions
 Header Item Youth Services Provision
 Header Item Youth Services Provision
 Header Item Childcare Education and Training Scheme Administration
 Header Item Inter-Country Adoptions
 Header Item Youth Services Provision

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 800 No. 4

First Page Previous Page Page of 92 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 217-225

Departmental Expenditure

 217. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if any of her Department’s 2012 capital expenditure allocation was used for current expenditure purposes last year, the amount used for this purpose; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19211/13]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The capital allocation made available to my Department in 2012 was not used for current expenditure purposes.

Departmental Expenditure

 218. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if she will provide the month by month profile for her Department's 2013 capital expendiuture;; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19227/13]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald A sum of €25.760 million has been made available to my Department in 2013 to support capital developments. This includes:

  National Children Detention Facilities (Subhead A.7)

  Just over €20 million   is being made available in 2013 to undertake the National Children Detention Facility Project at Oberstown. My officials in the Irish Youth Justice Service continue to work closely to progress this project with the Office of Public Works (OPW) which is providing the relevant project management services for my Department. The tender process for the award of a contract for the project is currently ongoing and the current projected timeline estimate from the OPW indicates that the first new residential units, to provide sufficient capacity to end the practice of sending 17 year old boys to St. Patrick's Institution, will be available for use by mid 2014.

  2013 Childcare Capital Programme (Subhead B.4)

  A sum of €3.25 million   is being made available to support the ongoing improvement of the childcare sector. Community/not-for-profit and private childcare providers/childminders that are currently providing services under one or more of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs funding programmes - the Community Childcare Subvention (CCS) programme, the Childcare Education and Training Support (CETS) programme and the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme - are eligible to apply. The 2013 funding programme covers four strands as follows:

  Strand 1: small grants to purchase equipment or carry out small maintenance work;

  Strand 2: grants to improve accessibility of services for children with disabilities;

  Strand 3: grants to provide natural outdoor spaces that promote active outdoor play; and

  Strand 4: grants towards critical works to ensure that buildings are fit for purpose under the childcare regulations (open to community/not-for-profit services only).

  Youth Programmes and Services (Subhead B.5)

  A sum of €1.75 million is being made available under a capital programme that will include the allocation of €1 million to support the provision of new Youth Cafés. The programme is being administered on behalf of my Department by Pobal and the funds will include support for fit-out, refurbishment works or building enhancement projects for the start-up of new Youth Cafés. In addition, resources amounting to €500,000 will be made available to youth projects for small refurbishment works or the purchase of equipment and a further €250,000 towards play and recreation facilities.

  The Profiles of Expenditure in relation to each of the Capital Programmes are set out in the following table:

Subhead JAN FEB
MAR
APR
MAY
JUNE
JULY
AUG
SEPT
OCT
NOV
DEC
TOTAL
-
€000
€000
€000
€000
€000
€000
€000
€000
€000
€000
€000
€000
€000
A.7
7
4
0
31
4,336
106
8,961
21
26
7,176
26
66
20,760
B.4
0
0
0
0
300
500
500
500
500
500
450
0
3,250
B.5
80
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
920
750
0
0
1,750
Total
87
4
0
31
4,636
606
9,461
521
1,446
8,426
476
66
25,760

Capital Expenditure Programme

 219. Deputy Martin Heydon Information on Martin Heydon Zoom on Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald with regard to the proposed allocation of €2.75 million under the childcare capital funding programme, if applications will be considered from childcare facilities that have not previously received funding under other capital programmes; if not, the other funding alternatives available for such facilities that wish to access the capital funding programme but find themselves excluded in view of the fact that they are not previous recipients; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19297/13]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I was successful in securing €2.75m in capital funding in Budget 2013, under the Childcare Capital Programme 2013, to support the ongoing improvement of the childcare sector. Community/not-for-profit and private childcare providers/childminders that are currently providing services under one or more of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs funding programmes - the Community Childcare Subvention (CCS) programme, the Childcare Education and Training Support (CETS) programme and the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme - are eligible to apply.

  There is no requirement for childcare services, applying for funding under the Childcare Capital Programme 2013, to have received funding under previous childcare capital programmes.

The 2013 funding programme covers four strands:  

  Strand 1: small grants to purchase equipment or carry out small maintenance work;

  Strand 2 : grants to improve accessibility of services for children with disabilities;

  Strand 3: grants to provide natural outdoor spaces that promote active outdoor play; and

  Strand 4: grants towards critical works to ensure that buildings are fit for purpose under the childcare regulations (open to community/not-for-profit services only).

  It should be noted that in the case of applications for funding under Strand 3, the HSE will be consulted in relation to the proposed works. Applicants who are not required to be notified to the HSE will receive an on-site visit from Pobal or the local City/County Childcare Committee to verify the application and validate the need for the proposed works.

  The 2013 Childcare Capital Programme will also be administered by Pobal on behalf of the Department. Full details of the Programme, including instructions on how to apply for a grant, are available on the Pobal website at www.pobal.ie. Applications must be made on-line, and the closing date for applications is Tuesday, 30 April 2013. There is no other capital funding available to my Department.

Inter-Country Adoptions

 220. Deputy Brian Walsh Information on Brian Walsh Zoom on Brian Walsh asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if the Irish Adoption Authority will engage with its counterpart in the Philippines with a view to removing or increasing the recently applied limit on the number of Filipino children approved for adoption by Irish parents; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19337/13]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The Republic of the Philippines is an independent sovereign state. As such it is a matter for the Filipino authorities to decide the manner in which they choose to implement the Hague Convention, including the numbers of children deemed suitable for inter-country adoption having regard to the principles of the Convention.

Youth Services Provision

 221. 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 if he will give priority to addressing the shortfall in funding to a youth service (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19380/13]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The Youth Affairs Unit of my Department provides a range of funding schemes, programmes and supports to the youth sector. Funding of some €53.173m is available in 2013 to support the provision of youth services and programmes to young people throughout the country including those from disadvantaged communities. Targeted supports for disadvantaged, marginalised and at risk young people are provided through the Special Projects for Youth Scheme, the Young Peoples Facilities and Services Fund Rounds 1 and 2 and Local Drugs Task Force Projects.

The Youth Service referred to by the Deputy administers a number of youth projects under the Special Projects for Youth Scheme and one Youth Information Centre on behalf of my Department. The allocations to the organisation's youth projects and youth information centre in 2013 are €511,465.

The savings required under the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure in respect of 2013 across all schemes and projects for youth amounted to €5.393m. Having regard to the savings requirements identified in the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure my Department has tried to ensure that, in the determination process for the allocations, the front line youth services, particularly those for the most vulnerable young people are protected as far as is possible from the impact of any necessary reductions in funding. Organisations are being asked to consider any scope for savings and administrative costs in order to protect front line services.

A comprehensive Value for Money and Policy Review of youth funding has been commenced in my Department and this report is expected later this year. It is anticipated that this report will inform the provision of funding for youth programmes/services going into the future.

In addition my Department is developing a new youth policy framework for publication later this year. The new youth policy framework will aim to enhance the provision of youth services and activities and it will, inter alia, promote co-ordination between government departments and youth sector organisations with a view to maximising the effectiveness of the State funding available to support services for young people in future years.

Youth Services Provision

 222. 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 if she will prioritise funding in respect of an application by a youth service (details supplied) in County Kerry for the development of a youth cafe; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19388/13]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald Funding of up to €1 million is available in 2013 from my Department for fit-out, refurbishment works or building enhancement projects for the start-up of new Youth Cafés. One of the core functions of a youth café is that it offers support to young people, ranging from practical support to advice through their participation in activities that are of interest to them and that are varied and on offer at times that suit their normal activities. The criteria for the Scheme places a clear focus on both long term sustainability and service planning.

  Pobal is assisting my Department in managing the Youth Café Programme 2013. The closing date for applications was Friday, 12 April. I understand that Pobal received an application for funding from Kerry Diocesan Youth Service on behalf of Castleisland Youth Café. This application will be appraised along with all other applications received and Kerry Diocesan Youth Service have been informed that the appraisal process will take approximately 8 - 10 weeks. Those applicants who successfully make it through the first phase will proceed to phase 2 of the application process at the end of which, those successfully through that phase, will receive funding approval from my Department. The time frame for this is July to October, 2013 and it is anticipated that funding draw-down for the successful applications will commence in November 2013.

Childcare Education and Training Scheme Administration

 223. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the reason persons on the jobbridge schemes are treated differently from other persons on activation schemes and persons in receipt of social welfare for the purposes of the childcare subvention scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19409/13]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The Community Childcare Subvention (CCS) programme provides funding to community childcare not-for-profit services to enable them to charge reduced childcare rates to parents in receipt of social welfare payments or on low to middle incomes. Community childcare services qualify for grant aid on the basis of the level of service they provide and the profile of the parents benefiting from their service.

Parents qualify for support under the CCS programme on the basis of their social welfare entitlement. The JobBridge scheme, which is implemented by the Department of Social Protection, is a National Internship Scheme which provides work experience placement for unemployed people. Participants in the JobBridge scheme receive a weekly allowance of €50 in addition to any social welfare entitlement they may have.

Participants in the JobBridge scheme do not, on the basis of participation in the scheme, automatically qualify for subvention under the CCS programme but qualify on the basis of their underlying social welfare entitlement. For example, a parent who was in receipt of Job Seekers benefit and who holds a medical card qualifies for a subvention payment of €50 per week towards the cost of full-time childcare. If that parent enters the JobBridge scheme they will continue to be subvented at the rate of €50 per week for the duration of their participation in the scheme.

A parent entering the JobBridge scheme and having been in receipt of a social welfare payment that qualified them for the higher rate of subvention of €95 per week under the CCS programme would maintain that level of subvention support for the duration of their participation in the JobBridge scheme.

Inter-Country Adoptions

 224. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald under the standardised framework for intercountry adoption assessments her understanding of the assessment process in relation to prospective adoptive parents in relation to their body mass index requirements; if the BMI target which was originally at 45 was reduced in 2010 to 40 and subsequently in 2012 to 35, her views on whether people who are above this level should be prohibited from being approved under the adoption assessment process; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19415/13]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The decision to deem a person suitable and eligible to adopt is a matter for the Adoption Authority of Ireland and is taken under criteria outlined in Section 34 of the Adoption Act 2010. These criteria include that an applicant or applicants be of "good health and of an age so that he or she has a reasonable expectation of being capable throughout the child’s childhood", of providing the necessary health, social, educational and other interventions for the child, and having financial means to support the child.

  Applicants are required to submit medical reports as part of the assessment process operated by the HSE. An applicant's BMI is one of a range of factors which may be contained in the medical report.

Youth Services Provision

 225. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if her attention has been drawn to the fact that the community run youth service for Cabra, Dublin, is being put at risk because her Department has not signed off on the funding allocation for 2013 and that independent auditors have advised the community board of management that they are unable to sign off on the youth service's accounts and budgets because her Department has not approved funding for 2013; when her Department will make a further decision on finding; the youth services in Dublin for which she has approved funding; the ones that are still pending; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19470/13]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The Youth Affairs Unit of my Department supports the delivery of a range of youth work programmes and services for all young people, including those from disadvantaged communities, by the voluntary youth sector. These schemes include the Youth Service Grant Scheme, the Special Projects for Youth Scheme, the Young People’s Facilities and Services Fund Rounds 1 and 2, Local Drug Task Force Projects and certain other provisions including the Local Youth Club Grant Scheme and Youth Information Centres. Funding of €53.173m has been provided to my Department for the provision of youth services in 2013.

My Department notified all grant administering agencies of the 2013 funding allocations on the 19 February last. However, in view of the reduction in funding in recent years due to the challenging fiscal situation, grant administering agencies/bodies, who administer the funding on behalf of my Department, were afforded the flexibility to make recommendations to reconfigure the allocations based on their local knowledge and expertise in relation to the projects in their respective areas. In the case of the Cabra for Youth Service the City of Dublin Youth Service Board (CDYSB) who are the grant administering agency for the Dublin City area made such recommendations to my Department. These recommendations were considered and approved by my Department on the 21 March. Letters in relation to the 2013 funding allocations have now issued to the projects in the Dublin City area.

Cabra for Youth is in receipt of funding under the Young People’s Facilities and Services Fund (Rounds 1 and 2). Funding amounting to €213,364 has been allocated in 2013 and the organisation has been notified accordingly.


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