Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 604-626
 Header Item Child and Family Agency Staff
 Header Item Youth Services Funding
 Header Item Mother and Baby Homes Inquiries
 Header Item Residential Institutions Redress Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item Education Welfare Service
 Header Item Child and Family Agency
 Header Item Protected Disclosures Data
 Header Item Education Welfare Service
 Header Item Child and Family Agency Staff
 Header Item Insurance Costs
 Header Item Preschool Services
 Header Item Juvenile Offenders
 Header Item Youth Cafés Expenditure
 Header Item Child and Family Agency Staff
 Header Item Child Care Services Provision
 Header Item Child and Family Agency
 Header Item Child Care Services
 Header Item Youth Services Funding
 Header Item Child Protection
 Header Item Departmental Functions
 Header Item Child Protection Services Provision

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 944 No. 2

First Page Previous Page Page of 84 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 604-626

Child and Family Agency Staff

 604. Deputy Seán Crowe Information on Seán Crowe Zoom on Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the number of Tusla staff who have been removed from employment following reviews of children and youth services or assessment of practices since 2010. [14852/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone For the purposes of this reply, "removed from employment" is taken as referring to dismissal.

  The information sought by the Deputy was requested from Tusla.

Tusla has informed me that since establishment on 1 January, 2014, 4 contracts have been terminated on grounds of dismissal. I have requested further information from Tusla in relation to this matter. Receipt of this information will inform as to whether the dismissals have been as a result of reviews of children and youth services or assessment of practices.

Youth Services Funding

 605. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the amount of grant-in-aid provided to each of the national youth organisations from 2006 to 2016 under the youth services grant scheme, in tabular form; the measures she is taking to address the cut in funding; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [14921/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone In 2017, funding of €57.4m has been provided to my Department for various youth schemes, an increase of €5.5m over 2016. The additional funding is being used for programmes that target disadvantaged young people and to assist national youth organisations in their work to support local voluntary youth services. My Department administers a range of funding schemes and programmes to support the provision of youth services to young people throughout the country including those from disadvantaged communities. These schemes include the Youth Service Grant Scheme under which funding is made available on an annual basis to thirty national and major regional youth organisations amounting to €10.65m in 2017. This funding is intended to ensure the emergence, promotion, growth and development of youth organisations with distinctive philosophies and programmes aimed at the social education of young people.

  Details of the organisations supported under the Youth Service Grant Scheme and the amount of grant aid provided to each of the national youth organisations from 2006 to 2016 under the scheme are outlined hereunder.

Youth Services Grant Scheme20162015201420132012
      
An Óige€176,302€172,002€172,002€178,703€198,559
Belong To - LGBT€147,984€144,375€144,375€150,000€98,437
Catholic Guides of Ireland€252,954€246,785€246,785€256,400€284,888
Crosscare€897,438€875,550€875,550€909,662€1,010,735
Church of Ireland Youth Department€175,688€171,403€171,403€178,081€197,868
Localise (formerly Confederation of Peace Corps)€125,809€122,741€122,741€127,523€141,692
ECO - UNESCO Clubs€119,551€116,635€116,635€121,179€134,643
Experiment In International Living€28,155€27,469€27,469€28,539€31,710
Feachtas€87,076€84,952€84,952€88,262€98,069
Foróige€2,615,530€2,551,737€2,038,388€2,117,805€2,353,117
Girls Brigade€44,434€43,350€43,350€45,039€50,043
Involve€223,707€218,251€218,251€226,754 
Irish Girl Guides€373,452€364,343€364,343€378,538€420,598
Junior Chamber Ireland€16,549€16,145€16,145€16,774€18,638
Macra na Feirme€432,566€422,015€422,015€438,457€487,175
Youth Theatre Ireland (formerly National Association for Youth Drama) €99,479€97,053€97,053€100,834€112,038
National Federation of Arch Clubs€51,055€49,810€49,810€51,751€57,501
National Youth Council of Ireland€565,749€551,951€551,951€573,455€637,172
No Name Club Ltd€190,619€185,970€185,970€193,215€214,683
Ógra Chorcaí  €513,349€533,349€592,611
Ógras€182,021€177,581€177,581€184,500€205,000
Order of Malta Cadets€47,290€46,137€46,137€47,935€53,261
Scouting Ireland Ltd€834,607€814,250€814,250€845,974€939,971
The Boys Brigade€56,126€54,757€54,757€56,891€63,212
Voluntary Services International€78,805€76,883€76,883€79,878€88,754
Young Christian Workers€93,271€90,996€90,996€94,541€105,046
Young Irish Film Makers€57,103€55,711€55,711€57,881€64,312
Young Men's Christian Association€147,806€144,201€144,201€149,820€166,466
Youth Work Ireland€1,967,823€1,919,828€1,919,828€1,994,626€2,102,707
Girls' Friendly Society€30,956€30,201€30,201€31,378€34,864
Irish Methodist Youth & Children Dept€29,074€28,364€28,364€29,470€32,744
Presbyterian Youth  €47,460€49,309€54,788
Grand Total€10,148,979€9,901,443€9,948,903€10,336,523€11,051,303
      
Youth Services Grant Scheme20112010200920082007
      
An Óige€212,363228,740233,409€246,993€240,969
Athlone Community Services  47,619€50,390€49,161
Belong To - LGBT€105,281113,400   
Catholic Guides of Ireland€304,694328,189334,890€354,381€344,274
Crosscare€1,081,0011,164,3691,188,132€1,295,147€1,134,290
Church of Ireland Youth Department€211,623227,944232,596€246,133€237,203
Comthraenail   €21,901€21,367
Localise (formerly Confederation of Peace Corps)€151,542163,230166,561€176,255€171,956
ECO - UNESCO Clubs€144,003155,109158,275€167,486€161,938
Experiment In International Living€33,91436,53037,275€39,445€35,556
Feachtas€104,887112,976115,281€121,991€117,552
Foróige€2,141,4932,306,6502,353,724€2,590,249€2,492,926
Girls Brigade€53,52257,65058,826€62,250€57,805
Involve     
Irish Girl Guides€449,838484,530559,418€596,575€562,512
Junior Chamber Ireland€19,93421,47121,909€23,184€22,619
Macra na Feirme€521,043561,226572,680€611,311€596,401
Youth Theatre Ireland (formerly National Association for Youth Drama)€119,827129,068131,702€139,367€133,041
National Federation of Arch Clubs€61,49866,24167,593€74,622€71,339
National Youth Council of Ireland€681,468734,024749,004€807,227€743,789
No Name Club Ltd€229,608247,316252,363€267,051€154,074
Ógra Chorcaí€633,808682,689696,621€749,023€728,803
Ógras€219,251236,160240,980€255,005€247,322
Order of Malta Cadets€56,96361,35662,608€66,252€63,173
Scouting Ireland Ltd€1,005,3171,082,8491,104,948€1,202,720€1,144,117
The Boys Brigade€67,60672,82074,307€78,631€75,250
Voluntary Services International€94,924102,244104,331€111,905€107,712
Young Christian Workers€112,348121,013123,483€130,669€126,019
Young Irish Film Makers€68,78374,08875,600€47,000 
Young Men's Christian Association€178,039191,769195,683€210,570€147,507
Youth Work Ireland€2,248,8852,422,3242,471,759€2,721,399€2,625,755
Girls' Friendly Society€37,287€40,163€40,163€40,163€39,024
Irish Methodist Youth & Children Dept€34,964€37,660€37,721€37,721€36,651
Presbyterian Youth€58,597€63,116€63,116€63,116€61,325
Grand Total€11,444,310€12,326,918€12,572,577€13,606,135€12,751,430
      
Youth Service Grant Scheme B92006
 Allocation
AN ÓIGE €224,157
ATHLONE COMMUNITY SERVICES €45,731
BOYS BRIGADE€50,000
CATHOLIC GUIDES €320,255
CHURCH OF IRELAND YOUTH DEPARTMENT €220,654
COMTHRAENAIL€19,876
Localise (formerly Confederation of Peace Corps)€104,959
CATHOLIC YOUTH CARE €1,055,153
E.C.O. UNESCO CLUBS €150,640
EIL INTERCULTURAL LEARNING €33,075
FEACHTAS €109,351
FORÓIGE €2,319,001
GIRLS BRIGADE. €53,772
IRISH GIRL GUIDES €468,267
JUNIOR CHAMBER IRLAND€21,041
MACRA NA FIERME €554,792
NATIONAL FEDERATION OF ARCH CLUBS €66,362
Youth Theatre Ireland (formerly National Association for Youth Drama)€123,759
NO NAME CLUB LTD€109,562
NATIONAL YOUTH COUNCIL OF IRELAND €696,897
YOUTH WORK IRELAND €2,442,563
ÓGRAS €230,067
ORDER OF MALTA €58,766
ÓGRA CHORCAÍ€677,956
SCOUTING IRELAND €1,058,795
VOLUNTARY SERVICES OVERSEAS €100,197
Y.M.C.A. €137,216
YOUNG CHRISTIAN WORKERS €117,227
TOTAL€11,570,091
Youth Service Grant Scheme B8.12006
 Allocation
DYCW IRISH METHODISTS€30,645
GIRLS' FRIENDLY SOCIETY€34,816
PRESBYTERIAN YOUTH€59,539
TOTAL€125,000

Mother and Baby Homes Inquiries

 606. Deputy Niamh Smyth Information on Niamh Smyth Zoom on Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone if she will address a matter (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [14946/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone As the Deputy may be aware, the Castlepollard Mother and Baby Home is one of the 14 Mother and Baby Homes included within the scope of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes. However, it is essential to recognise that the Commission is independent in the performance of its functions. Therefore, the precise approach to its investigation is a matter for the Commission to decide and progress. I do not have any role or influence in these decisions.

Residential Institutions Redress Scheme Eligibility

 607. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the reason survivors of an institution (details supplied) were not considered eligible for compensation under the 2002 redress scheme; if an alternative redress scheme for these persons is being considered; if an investigation of the conditions endured by residents of this institution will take place; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [14956/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone As the Deputy will be aware, my colleague the Minister for Education and Skills is responsible for the 2002 Residential Institutions Redress Act. However, I understand that when the Ryan Report was published in 2009 there were a number of calls for the Redress Scheme to be extended to include additional institutions, including the Bethany Home. The decision regarding extending the Scheme has been reviewed on a number of occasions by previous Governments with no change in the decision to extend the scheme.

Bethany Home is one of the 14 Mother and Baby Homes included within the scope of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes. Its terms of reference require the Commission to examine the living conditions and care arrangements experienced by mothers and children in these institutions. However, it is essential to recognise that the Commission is independent in the performance of its functions. Therefore, the precise approach to its investigation is a matter for the Commission to decide and progress. I do not have any role or influence in these decisions.

Education Welfare Service

 608. Deputy Tony McLoughlin Information on Tony McLoughlin Zoom on Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone her plans to take any particular or specific measure to combat issues arising from reports her Department may have received from school authorities throughout the country and particularly in counties Sligo and Leitrim appertaining to the health and welfare of children; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [14981/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Tusla has advised that its Educational Welfare Service (EWS) has responsibility to ensure that every child attends school regularly, or otherwise receives a certain minimum education, to support regular school attendance, tackle problems of absenteeism and to provide an educational welfare service. The EWS receives referrals from school authorities, parents and others relating to concerns for the educational welfare of individual children. When a young person is referred to the EWS by a school, parent or another agency the initial work of the Education Welfare Officer (EWO) is to assess the nature, scope and depth of the problem.

The EWS operates specific programmes supporting children, parents and their schools. The Home School Community Liaison Scheme (HSCL) provided to 400 DEIS schools to facilitate positive relationships between parents and their children’s school. The School Completion Programme (SCP) provides intensive supports to students at risk of early school leaving to enable these students to complete their education. Both of these programmes intervene at the earliest stage when school attendance or school participation difficulties emerge in order to support parents, students and schools to address any difficulties early. When these interventions fail to address the presenting problem a referral is made to the Statutory Education Welfare Service.

The EWS has also advised that any concerns about children and families referred to Tusla from school authorities in Sligo /Leitrim /West Cavan are assessed to determine the needs of the children involved and the appropriate intervention. The EWS operates an intake service throughout Sligo /Leitrim /West Cavan and nationally to deal with any welfare concerns regarding children.

Child and Family Agency

 609. Deputy Tony McLoughlin Information on Tony McLoughlin Zoom on Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the status of the provision of the new Tusla buildings in Carrick-on-Shannon; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15022/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Tusla has advised that it is committed to the leasing of new modern office space at Shannonside Retail Park in Carrick-on-Shannon. As previously highlighted, these new premises will provide easy access to the public and will accommodate the expansion of Tusla staff and services for local communities. There have been some delays in the development of this office space due to issues in relation to procurement. However the project is now at detailed design stage. The lease documents are currently being finalised, and are scheduled for signing shortly.

Protected Disclosures Data

 610. Deputy John McGuinness Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the process within her Department for dealing with protected disclosures under the 2014 Act; if the examinations of such disclosures are carried out by an independent authority or persons other than those within the organisation to which the disclosure refers; the number of disclosures received by her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [15070/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone My Department is committed to fostering an appropriate environment for dealing with protected disclosures under the 2014 Act. In this regard, my Department has adopted the guidelines provided by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in processing any protected disclosure received. My Department has developed a draft set of guidelines for guidance in these matters and staff are encouraged to follow these procedures fully.

I can confirm that to date two protected disclosures have been received by my Department with a third under consideration by the Legal Advisor as to whether it meets the criteria as set out under the Act to be considered a protected disclosure.

In relation to the management of cases, I want to assure the Deputy that my Department is committed to responding to each case that has been deemed to be a protected disclosure and if it is considered that an independent authority or person is required to examine a case, or aspects of any particular case, my Department is committed to taking this action.

Any protected disclosure received in my Department is treated seriously and investigated where that is considered appropriate in accordance with the provisions of the 2014 Act.

Education Welfare Service

 611. Deputy Tony McLoughlin Information on Tony McLoughlin Zoom on Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the detail of the new threshold for Tusla staff with regard to beginning investigations into complaints made regarding schoolchildren by concerned parents or teachers; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15113/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Tusla has advised that its Educational Welfare Service (EWS) has responsibility to ensure that every child attends school regularly, or otherwise receives a certain minimum education, to support regular school attendance, tackle problems of absenteeism and to provide an educational welfare service. The EWS receives referrals from school authorities, parents and others relating to concerns for the educational welfare of individual children. When a young person is referred to the EWS by a school, parent or another agency the initial work of the Education Welfare Officer (EWO) is to assess the nature, scope and depth of the problem.

The EWS has advised that it is unaware of any new threshold with regard to beginning investigations into complaints made regarding school children by concerned parents or teachers. The EWS acts on the basis of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 and the provisions contained therein. If the Deputy wishes to provide me more detail in relation to his question I would be happy to provide any further relevant information that my Department and/or the EWS may hold.

Child and Family Agency Staff

 612. Deputy Tony McLoughlin Information on Tony McLoughlin Zoom on Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone her views on whether all managers and senior staff at Tusla have the required capacity, skills and qualifications to do their dedicated jobs correctly; if there are areas within the organisation which need urgent attention in the short term in order to bring them up to the required standard; if so, the areas of concern; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15122/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The area of child protection and welfare social work is one of the most challenging areas of work for any professional and involves working closely with some of the most vulnerable and marginalised individuals and groups in society. To this end, I would like to acknowledge the dedication of colleagues in Tusla to improving the lives of children and families that access our services.

  As you will be aware, Tusla has received exchequer funding of €713m in 2017. This increase of €37m over 2016 funding will allow Tusla to proceed with its ambitious on-going programme of service reform and transformation which is underway, with a particular focus on governance; risk management; health and safety; and quality assurance and service monitoring to support the delivery of front line services, all of which I fully support.

  As Tusla matures, it continues to evaluate management and staff skills mix with a view to service enhancement, including reviewing the roles of family support workers; social care workers in the community; and administrative structures to support the delivery of more efficient and more cost-effective services. Part of this evaluation also includes looking at enhanced job roles, increasing multi-disciplinary team-working in an effort to alleviate pressure; redesigning tasks; and promoting greater efficiency in working. I particularly welcome Tusla's focus in 2017 on leadership development and supporting the forthcoming workforce development plan through learning and development and succession planning.

  The establishment of Tusla's in-house recruitment function, Tusla Recruit, marked an important milestone in building its internal capacity to recruit and I trust that recruitment timelines will improve further during 2017 with the development of Tusla's in-house Central Vetting Bureau in Q1, 2017. Tusla continues to have ambitious recruitment targets, expecting to recruit an additional 369 whole time equivalent posts across a range of professional, para-professional and business support functions before the end of 2017.

  However, a concern for me is that despite Tusla’s increased efforts during 2016, including an intensive graduate recruitment campaign in Ireland (including Northern Ireland), recruitment of social workers continued to be very challenging, requiring significant recruitment activity to achieve a modest increase in whole time equivalent and compensate for normal worker attrition rates with which Tusla must contend. It must also be noted that only 250 social work graduates are produced annually in Ireland and Tusla is competing with the rest of the market for this limited pool and so it is likely that the recruitment of social workers will continue to be difficult for the coming years.

  However I am confident that Tusla's continued focus on recruitment of appropriate staff in 2017 will support the improving trend with regard to unallocated cases and continue to improve the supports available to front line services.

Insurance Costs

 613. Deputy Michael McGrath Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the cost of insurance under different insurance headings such as public liability, buildings cover, employer liability and so on for her Department and each body under its aegis; the name of the insurance provider for each year since 2010, in tabular form; the number of current outstanding insurance claims against her Department or the body under its aegis; the estimated cost of those claims if available; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15175/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone My Department does not have conventional insurance cover and operates under a State indemnity, a self insurance model whereby the State bears the financial risks associated with the cost of claims.

The State indemnity is operated by the National Treasury Management Agency who acts as the State Claims Agency. All my Department's claims are delegated for management to this agency. This State indemnity also extends to bodies under the aegis of my Department which include the Adoption Authority of Ireland, the Children Detention Schools, the Child and Family Agency/Tusla and the Ombudsman for Children's office.

Preschool Services

 614. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the reason a person (details supplied) has been refused AIM level 7; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15235/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The Access and Inclusion Model (AIM), which is a new programme of supports to enable children with a disability to access and fully participate in the free pre-school programme, is administered by Pobal on behalf of this Department. The degree of support provided depends on the needs of the child availing of ECCE, in the context of the pre-school service registered with my Department.

My Department has made enquiries of Pobal in relation to this query and it is understood that an application was received for support - additional assistance in the pre-school room - under Level 7 of AIM. This was processed in accordance with the agreed protocols ensuring due process, fairness and equity. I understand that the outcome was that AIM Level 7 support was not found to be critical to enable this child to participate meaningfully in the ECCE programme. However Level 4 support was recommended.

Following a feedback phone call with a member of the Pobal team, a review request was submitted by the applicant. This review application and information submitted with it were all reviewed in line with the AIM Review Policy and the original decision was upheld, with Level 4 support again recommended. Level 4 support provides expert educational advice and support from an Early Years Specialist. The Early Years Specialist can, where necessary, visit the service and develop an individual Access and Inclusion Plan for the child within the pre-school setting, in conjunction with the parent and provider.

A further review can be requested if there is new information in relation to the application or a change of circumstances for either the child or the service.

Juvenile Offenders

 615. 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 support services exist to rehabilitate, educate or upskill first-time juvenile offenders with specific reference to the need to ensure that such first-time offenders do not become subject to the influence of recidivists; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [15239/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The Children Act 2001, as amended, provides the statutory basis for dealing with children who come into contact with the criminal justice system. The key principle of the Children Act 2001 is that detention of a child should only be imposed as a last resort. When children come into contact with the criminal justice system there is an emphasis on the promotion of community based options in the first instance. The Irish Youth Justice Service oversees a significant investment in community based programmes to divert young people from further involvement in criminal or anti-social behaviour. In 2016, approximately €17m has been allocated by the Department of Justice and Equality to the Irish Youth Justice Service to administer Garda Youth Diversion Projects, Young Persons Probation Projects and a number of other youth diversion community-based projects. These projects also benefit from support under the European Social Fund.

My Department provides funding to the Irish Youth Justice Service for services relating to the Oberstown Children Detention Campus (Oberstown) and the Bail Supervision Scheme which has recently been established on a pilot basis.

It is intended that the Bail Supervision Scheme will provide more therapeutic supports in the community for children who are subject to bail conditions. The service will provide a ‘wraparound’ service to the young person and their family with a prescribed reporting system back to the courts through the appropriate statutory bodies; Probation Service, An Garda Síochána and Oberstown. It is envisioned that such a scheme will offer greater options to the courts in the knowledge that closer monitoring will take place through interaction with the young people, their families and communities.

If a child is remanded or sentenced to a period of detention in Oberstown, a range of rehabilitative supports is offered to every child as part of an overall programme, which focuses on the child’s individual needs and provides the framework for each child’s individual journey through detention. The focus is on developing supportive relationships with the main emphasis placed on education and rehabilitation.

Oberstown has a service level agreement with certain organisations including advocacy services to children and young people in detention, and those in aftercare, their families and communities to support their full potential.

The wide range of rehabilitation, education and support services provided and supported by the Irish Youth Justice Service are detailed in the Tackling Youth Crime: Youth Justice Action Plan 2014 – 2018, and a progress report covering the period 2014 to 2015, published recently, is available on my Department's website.

Youth Cafés Expenditure

 616. Deputy Jim Daly Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the avenues of funding available for the running of youth cafés; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15257/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone In recent years capital funding has been made available to my Department for the development of youth café facilities. Youth Cafés offer young people a safe, alcohol and drug free space, for recreation, non-formal learning and youth activities and they make an important contribution to facilities for young people at local level. Recent research undertaken by my Department indicates that there are now more than 150 youth cafés throughout the country. In the main, these have been developed, over the years, by local communities with the support of different funding sources. Between 2011 and 2013, capital funding provided to my Department supported the development and fit-out of new youth café proposals.

My Department does not provide current funding to organisations such as the Funky Fish Youth Café, referred to in the Deputy's question. I am advised that the Funky Fish Youth Café was allocated once-off funding of €5,773 in 2011. However, it is open to them to make an application for funding under the Local Youth Club Grant Scheme which supports youth work activities at a local level. Under this scheme, grants are made available to 1,600 youth clubs and groups through the local Education and Training Boards.

In 2017, almost €1.2m has been allocated to this scheme, a 10% increase over 2016. The scheme, which is open to new entrants, will be advertised locally and applications for funding are invited by almost all ETBs from local groups in their respective areas. Cork ETB will be advertising the scheme on their website over the coming months.

Child and Family Agency Staff

 617. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone further to Parliamentary Question No. 1312 of 21 March 2017, if she will forward the request for information regarding seven suspensions of staff at Tusla to Tusla for answer or if she will request the information from the agency; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [15284/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Tusla has advised that for reasons of confidentiality, they cannot provide specific details with regards to suspension of staff.

Child Care Services Provision

 618. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone if the new affordable child care scheme will be applicable to children in part-time child care (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15351/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The Affordable Childcare Scheme will provide childcare subsidies for both full-time and part-time childcare, including after-school childcare. While the number of hours of childcare subsidised per week will be capped at a maximum of 40 (or 15 for families in which a parent is neither engaged in work nor in study), it is not intended that there will be any minimum number of hours of childcare for participation in the scheme. Parents availing of subsidies under the scheme – whether for part-time or for full-time childcare – will be subsidised on the basis of the number of hours of childcare per week, with the subsidy per hour determined by the age of the child and the family income. Maximum subsidy rates, for families with the lowest incomes, will range from €3.76 per hour for school-age childcare to €5.11 per hour for children between 6 and 12 months. Recognising the importance of flexibility to families, arrangements in terms of the numbers of hours per day or days per week of childcare that is used will be a matter for parents to decide, depending on the childcare options available to them locally.

The Affordable Childcare Scheme will provide a system from which both universal and targeted subsidies can be provided towards the cost of childcare.

The universal element of the Scheme will be available to all families with children between the age of 6 months and 36 months (or until the child qualifies for the free pre-school programme if later than 36 months). The targeted element of the scheme will involve a progressive system of income-related subsidies for parents with children between 6 months and 15 years, with eligibility based on net parental income. A family may receive either the universal or the targeted subsidy per eligible child, but not both. The subsidy provided will be whichever of the universal and targeted payment is most favourable to a family.

  Question No. 619 answered with Question No. 54.

Child and Family Agency

 620. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the reason a company (details supplied) is waiting payment for services provided; and if that payment will be made without delay. [15415/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone As the matter in question relates to a contractual matter, I have referred the question for direct response by Tusla to the Deputy.

Child Care Services

 621. Deputy Michael McGrath Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone when she will arrange for payments to issue out of the €1 million fund to community early years child care providers in recognition of the impact on those providers of the full implementation of the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016 relating to the minimum FETAC level 5 qualification for staff; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15417/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I understand the Deputy is referring to the Regulations made in 2016 which require that all staff members working directly with children in pre-school services must hold at least a major award in early childhood care and education at level 5 on the National Qualifications Framework, or a qualification deemed by the Minister to be equivalent. This requirement came into effect for newly-registering services on 30 June 2016 and for existing services on 31 December 2016. The requirement to have a qualification to provide care and education to young children has been extensively welcomed.

I recognise the impact that this change is having on community settings – from my own experience, from a number of meetings I have had with providers and representative groups, and from the Early Years Forum I established to ensure that providers’ voices are heard. I am acutely aware of the challenge that has been posed to services.

In preparation for the implementation of the Regulations, my Department commissioned Childcare Committees Ireland (CCI) to investigate the impact of the new childcare regulations on community childcare providers. All Community Childcare services around the country were afforded an opportunity to engage with this project during 2016, and detailed analysis has been completed.

The CCI work indicated that the vast majority of services would not face financial hardship as a result of changes required under the regulations. However it did find that some services had come to rely on Community Employment (CE) scheme workers, and I determined that these services should be provided with additional funding until September 2017, to enable them to transition to a more sustainable footing. Of course, the position of CE scheme workers is only one aspect of the challenge facing community services, and I absolutely recognise that this funding is acutely required in light of these challenges.

The sector has taken the initiative in commissioning and completing research highlighting the challenges they face, and I am aware that we need to get the funding model right for these services. This is a complex issue; and I hope that providers will appreciate that we have had to move to tackle the most urgent issues first, designing a new model of eligibility for families, tackling the CE scheme issue and providing funding for ‘non-contact time’ for the first time. This does not mean that I do not recognise the particular challenges being faced by services working in the most disadvantaged areas.

Officials in my Department have been working with Pobal and Childcare Committees Ireland to get funding out to services impacted by the change in relation to CE scheme workers; and I understand that contracts to enable payment have now issued to services. Funds will be disbursed without delay once these contracts are signed.

Delivering high quality, accessible and affordable childcare is my key goal, and this funding will ensure that every child will be cared for by a qualified professional, and that services can sustain existing levels of provision, while they prepare for the new Affordable Childcare Scheme. I will be announcing further information on this new Scheme in the coming weeks.

Youth Services Funding

 622. 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 remains satisfied regarding the availability of adequate resources to meet the growing challenges in terms of youth support services, social services, investigative programmes and rapid response; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15450/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The Revised Estimate for my Department for 2017 provides a gross funding provision of €1.311 billion. This represents an increase of €173 million, or 16%, over my Department’s 2016 allocation. In this regard, the Deputy might note that Youth Services will receive an additional €5.5m over their 2016 allocation. As a result, youth services have an overall budget of €60 million in 2017. This funding supports the delivery of a range of youth work programmes and services for all young people, including those from disadvantaged communities. Over 380,000 children and young people engaged with these services in 2016.

Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, will receive an additional investment of €37 million in 2017. Tusla now has an annual allocation of some €713 million which allows it develop as a sustainable organisation which will standardise, streamline and improve its services to children and families. The extra funding in 2017 allows Tusla to further alleviate service pressures in the areas such as unallocated caseloads, private residential care, foster care and Domestic, Sexual and Gender Based Violence services.

In conclusion, the significant additional resources secured for 2017 will allow my Department and its agencies build on the good work by all involved in working with children and families to deliver on this Government’s commitment to fundamentally reform the delivery of services.

Child Protection

 623. 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 continues to improve the services available for the protection of children in the home, in foster care or in statutory residential care; if sufficient resources continue to be available to meet all likely future requirements, having particular regard to past experience; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15451/17]

 624. 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 available to her adequate placement facilities for children at risk or deemed to be at risk; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15452/17]

 627. 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 sufficient resources available to her Department to meet the anticipated demands of children at risk; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15455/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I propose to take Questions Nos. 623, 624 and 627 together.

Children First National Guidance (2011) gives advice for notifying Tusla of situations where abuse is suspected. A range of professionals including teachers, nurses, early years educators, Gardaí and other health professionals, who see children regularly, are in a good position to identify children at risk. Where someone has reasonable grounds for suspecting a child is being, or has been, abused, they are expected to immediately contact Tusla. The Children First Act, 2015, once it is fully commenced, will place a statutory obligation on key professionals (mandated persons) to report concerns of harm above a defined threshold to Tusla without delay. It is my intention that these provisions will be commenced by the end of 2017.

Under the Child Care Act, 1991 and the Child and Family Agency Act 2013, Tusla has a duty to promote the welfare of children who are not receiving adequate care or protection. When a child cannot live with their parents and is received into care, it is Tusla policy to place them in care settings, preferably in foster care, as close as possible to their home and community. A very small minority of children under 18 years of age have highly specialised needs arising from severe behavioural or other difficulties, due to their childhood experiences or in some cases as a result of injury, accident or disability. The care needs of these children are generally met by directly provided residential services or a privately commissioned service.

Tusla has Foster Care Committees in place across the country and regularly seeks to recruit more foster carers. In addition, Tusla procures and develops residential accommodation to deliver on its annual business plan objectives. Tusla also procures a range of services from the private sector, including additional foster or residential placements, and such specialist services as are needed to address individual care plans. Tusla also co-ordinates with the relevant State bodies, accessing supports across a range of areas, including health, psychosocial services and education.

Each referral received by the Agency is assessed and dealt with on an individual basis by the duty social work team. It is of note that, at the end of Quarter 3, 2016, Tusla reported that approximately 60% of the referrals received were of a child welfare concern, and the remaining related to child protection concerns. Tusla refers child welfare concerns to the relevant family and community support services. At any stage, if circumstances change or new information comes to light and there is concern about abuse, the child protection pathway is followed.

Tusla provides me with information on a monthly and quarterly basis outlining the increasing demands for their services, and how they are dealing with children awaiting services. This information provides me with the information needed to assess how well we are supporting vulnerable children. Also, the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), inspects Tusla child welfare and protection services, statutory children’s residential care centres and foster care services while Tusla inspects children’s residential centres run by the private and voluntary sectors.

This valuable and detailed information continues to inform the Department and Tusla in the business planning needed to maintain and further enhance the range of services for the care and protection of children. Tusla is currently engaged in the second year of a three year recruitment programme to expand the cohort of social workers, social care workers and business support staff. I have secured additional funding for Tusla to enable this and the current and capital Exchequer funding for Tusla is some €713 million for 2017.

Departmental Functions

 625. 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 the investigative structures within her Department are deemed adequate to meet current and future requirements as evaluated by reference to the time taken to respond to individual cases; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15453/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The nature of my Department's work is significantly oriented towards policy development and co-ordination of actions across agencies, rather than dealing with individual cases. Accordingly my Department has no formal investigative functions or structures of the type that the Deputy may have in mind. There are of course systems for dealing with issues raised by members of the public under the Department's Customer Service Charter and Action Plan 2015-2017 and the Department has written procedures in place for dealing with disclosures made under the Protected Disclosures Act 2014.

Child Protection Services Provision

 626. 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 support services can be made available to children who might be at risk as a result of being undocumented non-nationals; the extent to which particular measures are taken to protect such children; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15454/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The Child Care Act, 1991 applies to all children resident in the State. Under the Child Care Act, 1991 and the Child and Family Agency Act 2013, Tusla has a duty to promote the welfare of children who are not receiving adequate care or protection. The Agency is obliged to provide care for these children for as long as their welfare requires it.

Children First National Guidance (2011) gives advice for notifying Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, of situations where abuse is suspected. A range of professionals including teachers, nurses, early years educators, Gardai and other health professionals, who see children regularly, are in a good position to identify children at risk. Where someone has reasonable grounds for suspecting a child is being, or has been, abused, they are expected to immediately contact Tusla. The Children First Act, 2015, once it is fully commenced, will place a statutory obligation on key professionals (mandated persons) to report concerns of harm above a defined threshold to Tusla without delay. It is my intention that these provisions will be commenced by the end of 2017.

If a child is taken into care, their needs are given priority. A social worker is assigned to a child placed in State care and has a duty to prepare and regularly review the care plan for the child. Intrinsic to this process is ensuring that the wishes of the child are listened to, and if appropriate, Tusla may assist them in establishing residency.

Unaccompanied asylum seeking children are placed in care and have their needs assessed, and are allocated a social worker.

Children who, with their parents, live in Direct Provision, are provided with welfare supports as required. Tusla seconded an experienced social worker to the Department of Justice and Equality to liaise directly between Direct Provision and Tusla services.


Last Updated: 03/03/2020 15:23:30 First Page Previous Page Page of 84 Next Page Last Page