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 Header Item Child Care Services Provision (Continued)
 Header Item Youth Services
 Header Item Emergency Accommodation Provision

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 944 No. 2

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  5 o’clock

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher Does Deputy Jan O'Sullivan have a final supplementary?

Deputy Jan O'Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan Sometimes women who are at home do not have access to training because they are not on the live register. That is something which must be considered as well. Ultimately, my concern is that we would not make some good community schemes unviable into the future.

Deputy Katherine Zappone: Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I agree with that. It would also be my concern. As part of this debate and if we look at it in the context of the committee, we need to look at access to training and requirements in that regard and whether they have changed enough so that people can have that access because, of course, it would not be something I would wish for, as the Deputy appreciates. At the same time, we have already said that in respect of lone parents who may be in training or education and have access to a certain level of subsidy, it will be no less as we move toward in terms of the transition to the new child care scheme to enable them to complete that training. I have met many of the people in these services and I understand pretty well what are the issues. My Department is committed to working with these services one by one.

Youth Services

 24. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the extent to which she has regular contact with youth organisations with a view to ensuring a continuous dialogue with an emphasis on the challenges that modern society presents for young persons and the means of addressing these issues and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15194/17]

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan This question relates to the extent to which the Minister continues to maintain dialogue with voluntary youth organisations throughout the country with a view to keeping in touch with the issues that challenge young people and the potential to address same.

Deputy Katherine Zappone: Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Meeting children, young people and those who campaign for their rights is the best part of my job. I engage with them every week. Last Saturday, I was delighted to join the FAI, the Shamrock Rovers Academy and their young players at the Roadstone Group Sports Club in Kingswood to open a world-class pitch. It was a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the result of a great partnership supported by the Government which will transform young lives. At the event, I was able to confirm funding of €380,000 for FAI community initiatives, which have cut anti-social behaviour in many communities. This will support street and night leagues and soccer leagues for young people who are homeless, as well as regional development officers. I give this simply as a recent example of my engagement with young people.

  Over the past 12 months, I have visited every province to meet children and teenagers. The old excuse that young people are not interested in politics does not wash with me. My experience from Cork to Roscommon and from Dublin to Mayo is that not only are they interested, they have very strong views. I have engaged with Comhairle na nÓg, Youth Work Ireland and the National Youth Council of Ireland, to name just a few groups, and also with young members of the Traveller community, young prisoners and boys being schooled at the Oberstown campus.

  As Minister, I have responded in a number of ways to the issues they have raised. Funding is being increased for youth services across the country to €57 million this year, which is a 10% rise. The first ever LGBTI+ national youth strategy is being delivered. Young people have been brought in to help form Ireland's response to Brexit and they were directly involved in deciding a future course for the north inner city. Engagement with young people is ongoing. Over the Easter break, members of Comhairle na nÓg will attend regional meetings and Brexit is on the agenda for every single one of them. They always report back to me.

  Additional information not given on the floor of the House

  Already we know from a national gathering I hosted at Croke Park that young people are worried Brexit could narrow college choices, jeopardise job prospects and lead to a hard Border on our island. This is a generation which has grown up in peace and with the freedom to move across our island. Croke Park told us above all that they do not want that to change. They do not want a border which would limit educational choice by limiting access to Northern Ireland and British colleges and hamper commercial activity but above all for those living in Border communities, they do not want it becoming a physical reality which interferes in their everyday social lives. I want to also acknowledge the attendance and participation of Deputies opposite on the day. These views have been shared with Government and are being acted upon. I assure the House that young people in all our communities have a voice and I am determined that it will be heard.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan I thank the Minister for her comprehensive reply. I am glad to note the initiatives she set out. Could she tell me the extent to which she can continue to engage with areas of social or economic deprivation in particular with a view to identifying the issues that affect the families of young people who may be affected by the pressures around them to a greater extent than would normally be the case? To what extent can she put in place interventions of a positive nature with which these young people can identify and from which they can benefit socially and economically along with the sporting activities that are there, which could also include their health and well-being in general?

Deputy Katherine Zappone: Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I thank the Deputy for his additional question. I have met a number of national organisations, as the Deputy is aware, on my travels. When I meet the adults, I always ask if the young people can come to the meetings as well so that I am not just meeting the people who are advocating for them, particularly in the context of Foróige, the National Youth Council of Ireland, Young Voices and Scouting Ireland. Many national organisations delivering services for young people are very keen, as am I, not only for us to continue the provision of services and to increase the funding, as I have identified, but to put in place systems and processes to hear what they think we should be doing to support their development and well-being. My Department has developed a children and young people's participation hub that is one of the best examples throughout Europe in helping us develop these processes to ensure that their voices are not only heard but heard in a way that actually influences policy and legislative change.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan Does the Minister use existing youth organisations throughout the country with a view to ensuring that their views and perspectives are always kept to the fore in terms of the developmental needs of young people in their respective areas?

Deputy Katherine Zappone: Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Without a doubt, I do. A gathering a few months ago at which some Deputies were present involved young people in the context of youth organisations and Comhairle na nÓg and discussed what they want in respect of Brexit. As we know, this is Brexit week. What is the value of such a gathering? When they came together, we heard that they were worried about narrow college choices, jeopardising job prospects and putting a hard border on our island. Above all, those living in Border communities do not want it to become a physical reality that interferes with their everyday social lives and they do not want a border that would limit their educational choice by limiting access to Northern Ireland and British colleges or that would hamper commercial activities. I have shared these views with Government and we are bringing that into the dialogue on the Brexit process.

Emergency Accommodation Provision

 25. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone if she will address the gap in services for persons under 18 years of age in emergency homeless services who are out of emergency accommodation between the hours of 8.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. and their particularly vulnerable situation. [15032/17]

Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan: Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan My question concerns the perceived gap in services for persons under 18 years of age in emergency homeless services who are out on the streets for long periods during the day because nobody is picking up on their issues.

Deputy Katherine Zappone: Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Tusla funds two emergency children's residential centres that cater for young people in need of emergency care. One such centre in Dublin city centre closes during the day. The young people are not put on the street or left to their own devices. Tusla funds a dedicated service to cater for the young people during the day and afternoons at weekends. Some of the young people attend school or training courses or have a dedicated project worker such as a youth advocacy programme worker or an Empowerment Plus worker to spend time with them during the day. The project workers engage with all aspects of young person's needs such as bringing them to meetings, attendance at appointment and arranging meals. This is to ensure they stay in their emergency situation for as short a period as possible.

My Department has policy responsibility for children under 18 who present as out of home without their parent or parents or guardian or guardians but Tusla has responsibility for the provision of services to these children. Tusla considers that a child who has left their family home in an emergency has a wide range of needs, including suitable accommodation. Children under 16 who present as out of home to emergency services are taken into care.


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