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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 930 - 947
 Header Item Adoption Services Provision
 Header Item Children in Care
 Header Item Child and Family Agency Staff
 Header Item Child and Family Agency Staff
 Header Item Child and Family Agency Staff
 Header Item Inter-Country Adoptions
 Header Item Inter-Country Adoptions
 Header Item Child Care Services Provision
 Header Item Departmental Reports
 Header Item Inter-Country Adoptions
 Header Item Child and Family Agency Staff
 Header Item Children in Care
 Header Item Children in Care
 Header Item Children in Care

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 835 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 118 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 930 - 947

Adoption Services Provision

 930. Deputy David Stanton Information on David Stanton Zoom on David Stanton asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald to explain the way her Department and the Health Service Executive define and classify post adoption trauma or incidences of post traumatic stress disorder as a result of adoption; the research, if any, carried out by her Department or bodies under the aegis of her Department into post adoption trauma; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [13758/14]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald Under adoption legislation, when a child is registered on the Register of Intercountry Adoptions the child is deemed to be the fully legal child of the adoptive parent/couple, having the same legal status as any biological child of the couple born to them within their marriage. Accordingly, it is open to any adopted child to access Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services operated by the Health Service Executive. The Executive advises that adoptive parents tend to seek assistance with issues relating to their adoptive child through their GP services who may then refer them.

The Child and Family Agency advises that there are a small number of adoptive parents who seek post adoptive support from the adoption assessment team in their area. The problems are generally attachment related behavioural issues. The Agency also funds a post adoption service operated by Barnardos in the Dublin area.

While no research on post adoption trauma has yet been carried out by the Child and Family Agency, the Children's Research Centre of Trinity College published the "Study on Intercountry Adoption Outcomes in Ireland" in 2007. This study, which was commissioned by the then Adoption Board, includes discussion of post-adoption experiences.

Children in Care

 931. 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 she will provide details of a care plan in respect of a child currently in foster care (details supplied) in County Galway and the prospect of the child being returned to the family.  [12795/14]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald A care plan is an agreed written plan for a child placed in statutory care. It is drawn up in consultation with the child, his or her family and all those involved with his or her care, for the current and future care of the child, which is designed to meet his or her needs. It establishes short, medium and long term goals for the child and identifies the services required to attain these goals. It also sets out appropriate timeframes and details of those responsible for delivery of actions. It would not be appropriate for me to comment on the specifics of this individual case. As such matters are for professional review and consideration, I have referred the Deputy's query to the Child and Family Agency.

Child and Family Agency Staff

 932. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald to set out the number of social work posts currently filled by persons on temporary contracts.  [12870/14]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I am informed by the Child & Family Agency that there are currently 31 social worker posts filled by persons on temporary contracts.

Child and Family Agency Staff

 933. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald to set out the number of social work posts below which the Health Service Executive risk analysis would deem the service to be unsafe.  [12869/14]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald A total of 1,459 social work posts transferred from the HSE to the Child & Family Agency. The complement transferring was determined following a detailed census and re-classification process undertaken in the HSE during 2013 through which social workers were formally assigned to particular care groups, including child and families services.

A rigorous system of risk analysis is in place to ensure that staffing numbers do not fall to an unsafe level as vacancies arise. These vacancies are approved for filling as a priority with an emphasis being placed on needs assessment, a range of demographic factors and the levels of risk involved.

Child and Family Agency Staff

 934. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald to set out the number of social worker positions that are vacant in the Child and Family Agency; and the date on which these will be filled.  [12871/14]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald Staffing vacancies arise for various reasons, including retirements, resignations, career breaks and unpaid leave. In addition, gaps in service cover arise where staff are on paid leave. Vacancies are covered by temporary staff as required to ensure that staffing levels do not fall to an unsafe level. This is risk assessed by Area Managers.

I am advised by the Child and Family Agency, that since its establishment on 1 January 2014, 23 social workers have commenced employment. A further 13 are due to commence employment during March and April 2014 and discussions are ongoing with other candidates to agree starting dates for a further 35 posts.

Inter-Country Adoptions

 935. Deputy Eoghan Murphy Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if there are delays in sending dossiers for adoptions to India; if so, the reason for same; and the action being taken to remedy the situation.  [12922/14]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The Republic of India has ratified the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption, as such it is not necessary to have a bilateral agreement with India. As a contracting state under the Hague Convention, the Adoption Act 2010 provides that adoptions by Irish prospective adoptive parents may be made subject to Irish and Indian requirements being satisfied in line with relevant laws and the provisions of the Hague Convention. It is a matter for contacting states whether they wish to impose restrictions on whether and how inter-country adoptions of citizens of that State may be effected.

I recently facilitated a meeting between the Irish India Support Group and the Adoption Authority in order to provide prospective adopters up to date information on the status of adoptions from India. At this meeting the Adoption Authority advised that there remains a general moratorium by the Indian Central Authority (CARA) on India accepting adoption applications from other countries other than in special circumstances. The Authority has recently received an announcement from CARA that India is currently accepting packs from non-resident Indian prospective adoptive parents for the adoption of Indian children (“normal” category). This means that India remains closed to non-Indian prospective adoptive parents at this time in respect of what it terms “normal” categories of children. The Adoption Authority understands that CARA is accepting applications in respect of children which are termed "special needs", which includes children over five years of age and sibling groups. The Authority is currently attempting to establish from CARA a possible time frame for the acceptance of application packs in the “normal” category from non-Indian nationals.

The Adoption Authority has advised it is their position that it is necessary to have an Irish registered accredited body to facilitate inter-country adoptions from India in order to safeguard the process for the child and the adoptive parents. The Authority has recently decided to delegate its functions under Articles 15, 16 and 17 of the Hague Convention to Helping Hands Adoption Mediation Agency with regard to adoptions from India. Helping Hands is awaiting approval by CARA in order to proceed in this regard.

I have arranged a follow-up meeting with the Irish India Support Group and the Adoption Authority in May in order to update the group on progress made.

Inter-Country Adoptions

 936. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald to outline the progress on bilateral agreements with Russia and Ethiopia on inter-country adoption; her plans to speed this process up; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12950/14]

 938. Deputy Nicky McFadden Information on Nicky McFadden Zoom on Nicky McFadden asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if she will provide an update regarding the establishment of inter-country adoption bilateral agreements with Russia; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [13022/14]

 941. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald to explain the position regarding speeding up the process on inter-country adoptions with Russia and Nigeria (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13095/14]

 954. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald to outline the action being taken to speed up the process to establish bilateral agreements with Russia and Ethiopia in respect of inter-country adoption; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [13399/14]

 975. Deputy Jim Daly Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald in view of the fact that she previously directed the Adoption Authority of Ireland to commence possible negotiations on a bilateral agreement with Ethiopia and noting that representatives of the authority visited Ethiopia two years ago for this purpose, whether it is her intention to wait for Ethiopia to ratify the Hague Convention before examining the possibility of adoptions recommencing from Ethiopia; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [13862/14]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I propose to take Questions Nos. 936, 938, 941, 954 and 975 together.

Efforts are ongoing in my Department in relation to a bilateral agreement on intercountry adoption between Ireland and the Russian Federation. Following my invitation to the Russian Ministry of Education and Science in August 2013, a delegation of Russian officials travelled to Ireland in October 2013 for discussions on a bilateral agreement on intercountry adoption between Ireland and the Russian Federation. The meeting of the 22nd October 2013 was very positive and detailed discussions took place between the Russian officials and officials from my Department, the Adoption Authority of Ireland, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the HSE. At the meeting significant progress was made and my Department, in early November 2013, forwarded to the Russian side further detailed proposals based on the discussions which took place. Following this my Department prepared revised draft wording on a number of specific points which were recently forwarded to the Russian Authorities. In transmitting these revisions to the Russian authorities it was suggested that should these revisions be acceptable to the Russian Federation, it would be useful for both sides to meet again for further discussions.

The Adoption Authority delegation visit to Ethiopia in April of 2012 was an initial part of the Authority's deliberations on the feasibility and suitability of entering into discussions with Ethiopia on a bilateral adoption agreement. The Authority has also sought and received advice on the legal compatibility of Irish adoption law with that of Ethiopia. The AAI legal advisors have considered this advice and certain clarifications are being sought. The Authority is also trying to establish the position of the Ministry of Women's Affairs in Ethiopia with regard to the desire of the Ethiopian authorities to enter into talks in relation to a bilateral agreement with Ireland. The Authority will advise me of the position when all the information is available. It is not possible to provide a timeframe for when the Authority's deliberations will be finished. While Ethiopia is striving to improve its child welfare and adoption procedures, it has not yet reached a stage where intercountry adoptions, if re-commenced could be guaranteed to be ethical or legally sound.

PQ 13095 makes reference to intercountry adoption with Nigeria. As Nigeria has not ratified the Hague Convention a bilateral agreement would be necessary in order for intercountry adoptions to take place. There are no plans in this regard.

The Adoption Authority is currently engaging with a number of Hague countries, such as China, India, the USA, Bulgaria, Thailand and the Philippines and is currently seeking to expand the number of Hague countries with which it engages.

Child Care Services Provision

 937. Deputy Ciarán Lynch Information on Ciaran Lynch Zoom on Ciaran Lynch asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if any funding is available to support a crèche project (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [12992/14]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The childcare service to which the Deputy refers is participating in the Community Childcare Subvention (CCS) programme which is implemented by my Department. The 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. The objective of the funding provided under the programme is to ensure that disadvantaged and low income families can have access to quality childcare support. Parents qualifying for subvention support can have up to €95 per week deducted from the overall charge. The weekly difference between the subvention support and overall cost, which should include all costs associated with providing the service, must be met by the parent. As the CCS is a specifically targeted programme, there is no provision to provide additional funding over and above that generated by the parental profiles. There is no other funding available to my Department to fund the event outlined by the Deputy.

  Question No. 938 answered with Question No. 936.

Departmental Reports

 939. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald to detail the number of external or internal policy reports that have been handed to her but not yet published; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [13026/14]

 940. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald when she will publish reports currently in her possession that have not been published to date; if she will outline in tabular form the reports involved; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [13043/14]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I propose to take Questions Nos. 939 and 940 together.

  Internal reports are provided to me on a continuous basis in the context of the ongoing work of the various policy areas of my Department. Such reports are not for publication but rather to keep me informed as to developments linked to the wider Departmental agenda. They can relate to general policy activities and developments, legal issues, and other specific matters arising. I also receive regular corporate updates in respect of financial activities for the Department and bodies under its aegis, business planning and other human resource activities. Reports of the nature outlined are an important resource in both carrying out and planning the full range of business activities.

  I am taking ‘external policy reports’ to mean reports commissioned from external sources and related to my Department’s policy activities. In this context, I have listed as follows all reports commissioned by my Department since it came into being on 2 June 2011. Publication arrangements for a number of reports have not yet been decided and I have indicated such in the table.

Name of Report Date commissionedDate CompletedPublication Date/Status
Youth Work: A Systematic Map of the Research Literature – Commissioned by CES on behalf of DCYASeptember 2011February 2013June 2013
Evaluation of Dáil na nÓg 2011October 2011February 2012Internal Report
Needs Assessment for the redevelopment of www.childrensdatabase.ieDecember 2011June 2012June 2012
Every Child a Home: A Review of the Implementation of the Youth Homelessness StrategyDecember 2011June 2013July 2013
‘Right from the Start’ - Report of Expert Advisory Group on recommendations in the

development of new Early Years Strategy
June 2012Autumn 2013September 2013
Public Knowledge and attitudes relating to children’s rights, welfare, protection and servicesJune 2012October 2012To be decided
Comhairle na nÓg and Garda Siochana survey on the attitudes of Gardaí to Young People - Questionnaire for Gardaí and young peopleJuly 2012Ongoing To be decided
Ireland’s consolidated 3rd and 4th Report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the ChildJuly 2012July 2013July 2013
Child safeguarding investigation in Child Detention SchoolSeptember 2012March 2013Internal Report
Strategic Human ResourcesDecember 2012April 2013April 2013
Improving the lives of children and young people:

Public Consultation
January 2013December 2013To be decided
Child safeguarding / operations review in Child

Detention School
March 2013May 2013Internal Report
Growing Up in Ireland Phase 1 ExtensionOctober 2012OngoingEstimated Dec 2014
Child Detention Schools Staff roster reviewApril 2013June 2013Internal Report
Role Review for Child & Family AgencyMay 2013November 2013Internal Report
Toolkit on good practice in involving seldom heard children and young people in decision-makingOctober 2013 OngoingEstimated Jan 2015
Evaluation of Dáil na nÓg 2013December 2013Ongoing Internal Report

  Question No. 941 answered with Question No. 936.

Inter-Country Adoptions

 942. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald to explain the exact application process and guidelines that must be satisfied for a family to legally adopt a non-EU national child not residing in the State.  [13123/14]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The Adoption Act 2010 provides for intercountry adoption between countries that have ratified the Hague Convention or between countries with whom Ireland has a bilateral agreement under Section 73 of the Adoption Act 2010. The Act gives force of law to the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. The legislation, which incorporates the provisions of the Hague Convention, provides a framework to ensure that appropriate procedures have been followed and that all adoptions are effected in the best interests of the child. Any adoption from a Hague country must comply with the Adoption Act, 2010 and the Hague Convention.

Applicants for intercountry adoption must apply to the Child and Family Agency in the first instance and then undergo a detailed statutory assessment process. This assessment is undertaken by professional Social Workers, and must be approved by the Adoption Authority before a Declaration of Eligibility and Suitability to Adopt can be issued to them from the Authority.

Child and Family Agency Staff

 943. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald further to Parliamentary Question No. 180 of 27 November 2013 if the report referred to in the reply is now to hand.  [13228/14]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I advised the Deputy last December that I had sought additional informational in relation to two posts i.e. Speech and Language Therapist and Principal Social Worker.

  I am now advised by the Child and Family Agency that the Speech and Language Therapist post has been filled and that interviews for the position of Principal Social Worker will be held in May 2014.

Children in Care

 944. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald further to Parliamentary Question No.146 of 4 December 2013 if the report referred to in the reply is now to hand.  [13229/14]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald In accordance with the Children Missing From Care - A Joint Protocol between An Garda Síochána and the Health Service Executive Children and Family Services a child is defined as missing where they are 'absent without permission, his/her whereabouts are not known, he/she has passed his/her Curfew Testing Limit and/or Carers have knowledge that gives them cause to be concerned for the child's immediate safety.'

  The Child and Family Agency has informed my Department that it does not maintain a register for the number of children who go missing and are subsequently found and re-entered into the care system. The Agency does however maintain a national record of the number of children who go missing from care and who are not recovered. From this record, I have been advised of the following:

- In 2012 there were three children who went missing from care and have not been relocated; one child was 16, one was almost 18 and the third child is now an adult.

- In 2013 there were two children who went missing from care and who have not been relocated, they were both 17 years old at the time they went missing.

Children in Care

 945. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald to set out the number of applications for admission to special care considered by the national special care admission and discharge committee in the years 2012, 2013 and to date in 2014; the number of such applications approved and rejected in those years; and the number of times the national special care admission and discharge committee met on an emergency basis to consider an application for the admission of a child to special care. [13233/14]

 946. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald to detail the number of appeals considered by the national special care appeals panel in the years 2012, 2013 and to date in 2014; and the number of such applications approved and rejected in those years.  [13234/14]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I propose to take Questions Nos. 945 and 946 together.

  Special Care involves the detention of a child for his or her own welfare and protection in a Special Care Unit with on site educational and therapeutic supports. A Special Care Unit provides secure residential services to children and young people who are in need of specialised targeted intervention. Children are detained in special care if their behaviour is deemed to pose a risk to themselves. The detention, by order of the High Court of a child in a Special Care Unit is considered as a last resort, for as short a time as possible, and when other forms of residential or community care are considered to be unsuitable.

  When a decision has been made to make an application for Special Care, the Social Worker submits an application with supporting documentation to the National Special Care Admission and Discharge Committee. The application will contain up-to-date information, the circumstances surrounding the real and substantive risk to the child and details of the discharge plan with the proposed onward placement of the child. The Committee will examine the application against the Criteria for Admission to Special Care and Guidance Applying for a Placement in Special Care   (2012).

  I am advised by the Child and Family Agency that there were 14 applications for admission to Special Care to date in 2014. Eight of these were approved, one did not meet the criteria for admission and there are five applications under consideration. The Committee has had five emergency meetings to date in 2014. There have been no appeals considered by the Appeals Panel so far this year.

  In 2013 there were 104 applications for admission to Special Care. Thirty two of these were approved, 45 did not meet the criteria for admission and a further 27 applications were withdrawn. There were 33 emergency meetings of the Committee in 2013. Twenty two appeals, 10 of which were upheld were considered by the Appeals Panel in 2013.

  In 2012 there were 65 applications for admission to Special Care. Thirty seven of these were approved, 19 did not meet the criteria for admission and a further 9 applications were withdrawn. There were 25 emergency meetings of the Committee in 2012. Five appeals, 3 of which were upheld were considered by the Appeals Panel in 2012.

Children in Care

 947. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald when she will sign a commencement order to enact the remaining provisions of the Child Care (Amendment) Act 2011.  [13235/14]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald As the Deputy is aware, a number of sections, mainly in Part 2 and Part 3, of the Child Care (Amendment) Act 2011 remain to be commenced.

A substantial element of the non-commenced sections relate to provisions for special care. Given the legislative framework utilised to manage the interaction between the Child Care Act 1991 and the Health Act 2007, in relation to special care provisions, Regulations under the Health Act 2007 are required in advance of the commencement of these various sections.

Work is at an advanced stage in my Department in drafting the required Regulations for Special Care Units. I would hope to have the Regulations finalised in the near future, and shortly thereafter to draft a commencement order for the relevant sections of the 2011 Act.

Other sections of the Act that are not yet in force are being kept under review as to their commencement in association with relevant policy and service developments.


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