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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 489-508
 Header Item Foster Care Data
 Header Item Foster Care Data
 Header Item Oireachtas Joint Committee Recommendations
 Header Item Childcare Services
 Header Item Early Childhood Care and Education
 Header Item Youth Services Funding
 Header Item Child and Family Agency Services
 Header Item Affordable Childcare Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item Early Childhood Care and Education
 Header Item Rape Crisis Network Funding
 Header Item Rape Crisis Network Funding
 Header Item Child and Family Agency Services
 Header Item Child and Family Agency Data
 Header Item Rape Crisis Network Funding
 Header Item Child and Family Agency Services
 Header Item Childcare Services
 Header Item Childcare Services Data
 Header Item Child and Family Agency Funding

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 980 No. 4

First Page Previous Page Page of 91 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 489-508

Foster Care Data

 489. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the number of children in private foster care in each month of 2018. [10350/19]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I can inform the Deputy that Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, publish figures monthly  on the number of children placed with privately provided placements, by placement type. The most recent date for which information is available is November 2018. Table 1, below, lays out the number of children in private placements for January to November 2018. It should be noted that the figures published in monthly performance activity reports are provisional figures and subject to ongoing validation.

  Tusla's local fostering committee are the approval body for all foster care placements, including those recruited by private foster care companies. Children placed with private foster care companies are allocated a Tusla social worker.

  Table 1. Children in Private Placements, at end November 2018

Month Foster Care Residential Care Other Care Types Total
January 395 206 20 621
February 390 212 18 620
March 387 217 16 622
April 381 221 21 623
May 394 218 19 631
June 393 217 13 623
July 383 210 16 609
August 392 211 23 626
September 390 222 29 641
October 397 222 31 650
November 398 222 30 650

Foster Care Data

 490. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the number of private providers engaged in sourcing foster care here; the amount paid to each private provider in 2018; and the number of children placed in foster care by each provider in the same year. [10351/19]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The Deputy may be aware that private providers do not place children in foster care. All children in foster care, regardless of provider, are in the care of the Child and Family Agency. If Tusla cannot source a placement within its own pool of foster carers, a private provider may be approached to provide a placement. All foster carers providing a foster care service, including those employed by  private foster care companies, are assessed by Tusla's Foster Care Committee, prior to commencing placements.

 As regards the number of children placed in foster care in 2018, I have written to Tusla to request the figures to which the Deputy refers.

Oireachtas Joint Committee Recommendations

 491. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone if the value for money review of the use of private foster care companies recommended by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Children and Youth Affairs in 2017 has been concluded; and if so, if a copy of the findings will be published. [10352/19]

 492. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the status of the implementation of the 2017 recommendation by the Oireachtas Joint Committee for Children and Youth Affairs that funds be diverted away from private foster care companies and into the recruitment of foster carers and social workers in order that the same work can be done by Tusla; and the sum that has been redirected to date. [10353/19]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I propose to take Questions Nos. 491 and 492 together.

Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, has a statutory responsibility to provide alternative care services, including foster care services, under the provisions of the Child Care Act, 1991, the Children Act, 2001, and the Child Care (Amendment) Act, 2007. The majority of alternative care services are provided directly by Tusla.

When a child comes into care the most important issue for Tusla is identifying a foster carer who can meet the unique needs of that child. This can result in a child being placed with a foster carer from a non-statutory fostering service, where this is in their best interests. The majority of foster carers in Ireland, 89% or 3,851, are recruited, assessed and supported by Tusla. There are currently 5,554 children in foster care in Ireland, of which 10% are placed with non-statutory foster care agencies. It should be noted that Tusla's local fostering committees are the approval body for all foster care placements, including those recruited by private foster care companies. Children placed with private foster care companies are allocated a Tusla social worker.

Tusla utilises the services of private providers for different reasons. In some Tusla areas there may be a shortage of foster carers for demographic reasons, or there may be a need for specialist services to meet the needs of an individual child. These factors can result in the need to source foster placements from private fostering agencies.

In my formal response to the Chair of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the publication of the report on foster care, I noted that Tusla is carrying out a procurement exercise to ensure that the private foster care services have been procured in accordance with procurement objectives, which incorporate value for money as well as service quality objectives. 

In 2018 a procurement process was initiated to ensure that the commissioning of the service was in line with financial regulations and represented best value for money. The process, however, failed to deliver any providers. Tusla has initiated a new tendering process for private foster care overall, including provision of a link worker, supervision of staff etc. 

It is recognised by Tusla that best value will lie in the ability of the Agency to recruit foster carers in suitable locations with the appropriate capacity to care for the small number of children not currently fostered within the statutory provision.

Recruitment of foster carers is an ongoing and prioritised activity within the Agency. This work is resourced by Tusla and includes funding fostering services in 17 Tusla areas, funding of recruitment material (such as leaflets, posters) and also media campaigns (radio, newspaper advertisements). In 2018, work was carried out to review this recruitment activity nationally, and to ensure that future recruitment is evidence informed about what works best in identifying potential foster carers. To further enhance this work, four additional posts are being funded, in addition to existing fostering resources, to support the recruitment of foster carers.  A national working group has also been established to review all recruitment activity across the country, to ensure all efforts are being taken to recruit a diverse range of foster carers to meet the diverse range of needs for children requiring foster care.

Childcare Services

 493. 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 her views on the crises facing community childcare services due to issues arising from recent Pobal compliance visits and audit issues; if her attention has been drawn to their concerns; if she will consider the proposals set out in the correspondence (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10356/19]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Assisting families to access high quality, affordable early learning and care and school age childcare is a priority for me as Minister and hence I take these matters very seriously.

My Department funds a number of early learning and care and school age childcare programmes.  Given the large amount of public money that is used in funding these programmes, there needs to be an appropriate level of oversight and accountability. The Department of Children and Youth Affairs believes that our approach to compliance and  supporting services  strikes a necessary and appropriate balance. Our approach involves setting out the rules for the receipt of State funding, supporting providers to deliver services, and at the same time, the approach offers assurances to the taxpayer that the funding assigned is being spent as it was intended.

A high level of compliance with the rules of the various childcare schemes  is vital to maintaining existing investment as well as ensuring future investment. It is a requirement that services operating the early learning and care and school age childcare programmes funded by my Department must be compliant with the ‘Rules for DCYA childcare funding programmes’ , the most recent of which was published on 9th August 2018. Compliance with these Rules is overseen by Pobal on behalf of my Department. Because subsidies for the early learning and care and school age childcare programmes are paid based on attendance (and not enrolment), this is a vital governance component of the funding for which my Department is responsible.

I very much appreciate that community childcare settings, such as that referenced, provide a critical service to children and families across the country. I also appreciate their stated concerns regarding their sustainability. Hence, significant support is available to them to bring their service onto a more sustainable footing, whilst being necessarily compliant with scheme rules.

My Department oversees an integrated Case Management system operated by Pobal through which a dedicated team assesses services facing challenges. This Case Management service provides non-financial assistance or support in the first instance. Financial supports are also available for services facing certain challenges which may also be accessed through Case Management following a financial assessment.

 Results from Pobal compliance visits for the first part of the programme year 2018/2019 show some issues in relation to non-compliance which needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. I am encouraged however that most services have engaged constructively with the process so far. I would recommend all other services to get in contact with Pobal or their local City / County Childcare Committee if they need support or advice, or if they believe a sustainability issue arises.

I should also emphasise that as an FRC, some activities may be eligible for funding from elsewhere, rather than from childcare programmes per se, for example after school work related to literacy and numeracy may be eligible for funding under the Schools Completion Programme. 

The existing targeted childcare schemes will be replaced later this year with the Affordable Childcare Scheme. In the coming weeks my Department will begin to roll out a major national information campaign in relation to how this new scheme will operate. A significant amount of time will be invested in working with services to ensure that they are ready for it. The new scheme will not have a snapshot window. Its attendance rules will seek to reflect the reality of children and parents' lives and the need for services to operate as businesses. The attendance rules will reflect a certain degree of flexibility whilst honouring the requirement to ensure that Exchequer funding is used for the purposes it was intended.

The Deputy will be aware that investment in childcare has increased by an unprecedented 117% over the last four budgets, now totalling  €575m per year. Community services access much of this growing investment. Turnover for many services has increased quite substantially (given that the number of servicers operating has increased only slightly) assisting services to review their business model to meet compliance requirements. The Affordable Childcare Scheme will mark another significant milestone for early learning and care and school age childcare in this country, creating an infrastructure from which Government can further increase investment in services over the next decade, This is in line with the commitment made in First 5, the Whole of Government Strategy for Babies , Young Children and their Families, I published last November.

Early Childhood Care and Education

 494. 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 the preschool options available to a family with a child that will be two years and seven months in September 2019, missing the ECCE first year by one month and that cannot afford to pay privately for the service; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10409/19]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone From September 2018, all children meeting the minimum age requirement of 2 years and 8 months are eligible for a full two programme years on the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme. This measure refines developments introduced in 2016 and increases the duration of each registered child on ECCE from a previous average of 61 weeks, to a potential duration of 76 weeks (two programme years) delivering fully on a commitment in the Programme for a Partnership Government that is good for children, families and Early Years providers.

This new measure addresses the previous situation with regard to multiple entry points whereby there was a broad fluctuation in the number of free preschool weeks a child could avail of (between 61 and 88 weeks depending on the date of birth of the child) and will ensure a programme that is equitable for all children. The situation where there was more than one entry point created a perception of inequality to some parents when they considered the variance in the number of weeks of ECCE provision, dependant on their entry point.

The minimum age was chosen based on national experience and a review of international practice. It also had regard to the regulatory environment for early learning and care in this country and issues such as child development readiness and adult-child ratios. The upper age limit for the ECCE programme remains the same (i.e. a child is not eligible if they will be 5 years and 6 months before the end of the programme year).

It must be noted that age limits have been used to determine eligibility since the inception of the ECCE programme in 2010.

Some children will not be able to commence their ECCE in September of the programme year as they will not have reached the age of 2 years and 8 months on or before 31st August. However, they will be able to commence ECCE the following September and continue for a further year from September of the next programme year. Parents of children born around this time of the year may prefer for their children to start school at age 4 rather than 5 years and may therefore choose to avail of one year of ECCE only. However, it is important to note that this is a parental choice and that the overall policy change has ensured that two programme years are available to all children.

My Department does its best to ensure, in so far as possible, the equitable treatment of all children and families who apply for childcare funding under the ECCE Programme.  In order to ensure objectivity and fairness, it is essential that clear rules exist for the scheme and that they are applied evenly. An essential component of the ECCE programme rules is an eligibility start date to ensure that the programme can be administered and budgeted for in an appropriate manner.

There are no immediate plans to revise the ECCE rules beyond the changes which were introduced in September 2018.

Youth Services Funding

 495. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the level of funding provided to the youth advocate programme Ireland from 2011 to 2018, by county in tabular from; the locations in which services will no longer continue to operate; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10421/19]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I can inform the Deputy that my Department has not provided direct funding to the named organisation, Youth Advocacy Programme (YAP) Ireland, in the years specified by the Deputy.

  However, Tusla, the Child and Family Agency has an annual Service Level Agreement in place with the organisation.  As the matters to which the Deputy refers are operational, I have requested Tusla to respond to the Deputy directly.

Child and Family Agency Services

 496. Deputy Peter Burke Information on Peter Burke Zoom on Peter Burke asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone if she will direct Tusla to provide urgent psychology hours as deemed necessary to a child (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10524/19]

 497. Deputy Peter Burke Information on Peter Burke Zoom on Peter Burke asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone if she will direct Tusla to follow up on a case (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10525/19]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I propose to take Questions Nos. 496 and 497 together.

  I can advise the Deputy that I have referred the matter to Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, for their appropriate attention.

  The Deputy may wish to note that I am not in a position to intercede directly as there is an obligation that Tusla performs its functions independently. I am also precluded from giving a direction to Tusla that interferes with the exercise of professional judgement in a particular case. These aspects are referred to in section 8(11) and section 47(5), respectively, of the Child and Family Agency Act 2013.

Affordable Childcare Scheme Eligibility

 498. Deputy Kathleen Funchion Information on Kathleen Funchion Zoom on Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the reason children in community childcare settings will be restricted to 15 hours per week if their parents are not in full-time employment or education; her views on whether this will have a serious negative impact on vulnerable children who rely on their childcare settings for hot meals; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [10708/19]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone  The Affordable Childcare Scheme (ACS) is a new, national scheme of financial support for parents towards the cost of childcare.  The development of this Scheme is a significant move forward in delivering quality, accessible, affordable childcare to families throughout Ireland. 

The Scheme entails a fundamental shift away from subsidies grounded in medical card and social protection entitlements, and towards a comprehensive and progressive system of universal and income-based subsidies.  By making this shift and by tangibly reducing the cost of quality childcare for thousands of families across Ireland, the Scheme aims to improve children's outcomes, support lifelong learning, make work pay and reduce child poverty. It is also designed to have a positive impact on gender equality in relation to labour market participation and employment opportunities.

The Scheme will ultimately replace the existing targeted childcare schemes with a single, streamlined and user-friendly scheme, providing both universal and targeted childcare subsidies.  To make the transition to the new scheme as smooth as possible, families can choose to make the switch to the new Scheme once it launches (targeted for October 2019) or can remain on their current childcare subsidy programme for one final year.

With regard to income-based subsidies awarded under the Scheme, parents who are working, studying or who meet certain other conditions will qualify for an enhanced-hours subsidy (up to a maximum of 40 hours per week).  The definitions of ‘work’ and ‘study’ will be set out in regulations made under the Childcare Support Act 2018 and will be comprehensive, covering differing types of work and study arrangements, such as part-time, week on/ week off and zero hour contract arrangements.  

Parents who do not qualify for an enhanced hours subsidy may still qualify for a standard-hours subsidy (up to a maximum of 15 hours per week).  This approach reflects the evidence on the strong benefits of early childhood care and education for young children and, particularly, those from disadvantaged backgrounds but also, the evidence that these benefits are – in most cases – realised with part-time participation. The cap of 15 hours will provide for continuity between the Affordable Childcare Scheme and the ECCE scheme, whereby it will be possible for a child to commence subsidised sessional care before the age of 3 and to continue in such care without disruption or a change of hours as they transition into the ECCE scheme.

Families with high levels of need, who require childcare for child welfare, child protection or family support reasons, may be referred for childcare support by a specified “sponsor” body.  Where such a referral is made, the family will automatically qualify for a subsidy for the number of hours considered appropriate by the sponsor without having to satisfy the scheme’s eligibility, income or enhanced hours requirements.  There is no general minimum or maximum age limit for a child who is the subject of a referral by a sponsor.  However, sponsor bodies will adhere to strict criteria for qualification for referral as set out in Agreements made under section 14 of the Childcare Support Act 2018.

Finally, my Department is currently undertaking a Sustainability Review of a range of community childcare providers in some of the most disadvantaged areas in Ireland.  The impact of the standard hours subsidy limit of 15 hours is one of the items being considered as part of this review.  The review is due to be completed in quarter 2 of this year and will inform any future policy developments in this area. 

Early Childhood Care and Education

 499. Deputy Kathleen Funchion Information on Kathleen Funchion Zoom on Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the reason Pobal is trying to recategorise childcare and early years settings as half day facilities due to the fact that children may be collected early; her views on whether this will have a detrimental effect on facilities in terms of funding and on children that will not be entitled to a meals if facilities are forced to become half day services; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10709/19]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Assisting families to access high quality, affordable early learning and care and school age childcare is a priority for me as Minister and hence I take these issues raised in your question very seriously.

My Department funds a number of early learning and care and school age childcare programmes.  Given the large amount of public money that is used in funding these programmes, there needs to be an appropriate level of oversight and accountability. The Department of Children and Youth Affairs believes that our approach to compliance and  supporting services  strikes a necessary and appropriate balance. Our approach involves setting out the rules for the receipt of State funding, supporting providers to deliver services, and at the same time, the approach offers assurances to the taxpayer that the funding assigned is being spent as it was intended. DCYA also wishes to ensure that as many children and families as possible can benefit from State childcare funding and that funding is accessed in a fair, equitable and transparent manner.

A high level of compliance with the rules of the various childcare schemes  is vital to maintaining existing investment as well as ensuring future investment. It is a requirement that services operating the early learning and care and school age childcare programmes funded by my Department must be compliant with the ‘Rules for DCYA childcare funding programmes’ , the most recent of which was published on 9th August 2018. Compliance with these Rules is overseen by Pobal on behalf of my Department. Because subsidies for the early learning and care and school age childcare programmes are paid based on attendance (and not enrolment), this is a vital governance component of the funding for which my Department is responsible.

I very much appreciate that childcare services provide a valuable service to children and families across the country. I also appreciate concerns raised by providers regarding the potential impact of compliance findings and the associated re-registrations on their operations, including the provision of meals. Significant support is available to them to bring their service onto a more sustainable footing, whilst being necessarily compliant with scheme rules.

My Department oversees an integrated Case Management system operated by Pobal through which a dedicated team assesses services facing challenges. This Case Management service provides non-financial assistance or support in the first instance. Financial supports are also available for community services facing certain challenges which may also be accessed through Case Management following a financial assessment.

Results from Pobal compliance visits for the first part of the programme year 2018/2019 show some issues in relation to non-compliance which needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. I am encouraged however that most services have engaged constructively with the process so far. I would recommend all other services to get in contact with Pobal or their local City / County Childcare Committee if they need support or advice, or if they believe a sustainability issue arises.

The existing targeted childcare schemes will be replaced later this year with the Affordable Childcare Scheme. In the coming weeks my Department will begin to roll out a major national information campaign in relation to how this new scheme will operate. A significant amount of time will be invested in working with services to ensure that they are ready for it. The new scheme will not have a snapshot window. Its attendance rules will seek to reflect the reality of children and parents' lives and the need for services to operate as businesses. The attendance rules will reflect a certain degree of flexibility whilst honouring the requirement to ensure that Exchequer funding is used for the purposes it was intended.

The Deputy will be aware that investment in childcare has increased by an unprecedented 117% over the last four budgets, now totalling  €575m per year. Community services access much of this growing investment. Turnover for many services has increased quite substantially (given that the number of servicers operating has increased only slightly) assisting services to review their business model to meet compliance requirements. The Affordable Childcare Scheme will mark another significant milestone for early learning and care and school age childcare in this country, creating an infrastructure from which Government can further increase investment in services over the next decade, This is in line with the commitment made in First 5, the Whole of Government Strategy for Babies , Young Children and their Families, I published last November.

Rape Crisis Network Funding

 500. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the funding provided to a centre (details supplied) in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10711/19]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Under the Child and Family Agency Act, 2013, Tusla, the Child and Family Agency has statutory responsibility for the care and protection of victims of domestic, sexual or gender based violence whether in the context of the family or otherwise.

  Tusla funds 16 Rape Crisis Centres which provide a range of services to victims of sexual violence including:

  - a helpline to support callers, answer questions and provide information,

  - counselling and support,

  - advocacy,

  - provision of a trained person to accompany clients to a doctor or Sexual Assault Treatment Unit,

  - presentations/talks to various groups and students at second and third level, 

  - awareness raising activities.

  Funding allocated to Rape Crisis Centres since the establishment of Tusla in 2014 is highlighted in Table 1.

  Table 1: Funding Allocation to Rape Crisis Centres 2016-2019

No. Organisation 2016 2017 2018
No. Organisation 2016 2017 2018
1 Rape Crisis North East €159,110 €169,110 €187,110
2 Donegal Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Centre €142,000 €168,500 €230,000
3 Rape Crisis Centre Midwest €346,400 €361,400 €407,400
4 Mayo Rape Crisis Centre €168,400 €188,400 €201,400
5 Rape Crisis Centre Kerry €208,000 €214,000 €221,000
6 Rape Crisis Centre Wexford €210,800 €216,900 €221,300
7 Galway Rape Crisis Centre €363,000 €400,805 €404,250
8 Rape Crisis Centre Sligo, Leitrim and West Cavan €168,300 €184,300 €252,550
9 Dublin Rape Crisis Centre €1,087,892 €1,141,627 €1,229,214
10 Carlow and South Leinster Rape Crisis Centre €163,500 €165,500 €249,310
11 Waterford Rape Crisis Centre €240,200 €240,200 €241,200
12 Tipperary Rape Crisis Centre €166,100 €170,100 €167,350
13 Athlone (Midlands) Rape Crisis Centre €106,300 €113,100 €113,500
14 Tullamore Rape Crisis Centre €84,300 €116,900 €120,300
15 Sexual Violence Centre Cork €290,500 €290,500 €293,000
16 Kilkenny Rape Crisis Centre €174,900 €179,500 €175,900
  Total Funding €4,079,702 €4,320,842 €4,714,784


  Funding cited for 2014-2018 represents the total funding provided, which includes core funding for the year and any additional resources that were required due to service demands.

  Tusla has advised that funding for 2019 has yet to be finalised.

Rape Crisis Network Funding

 501. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the funding provided to the 16 services of the State for victims of sexual violence in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; the amount of this funding that has been allocated to rape crisis centres; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [10712/19]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Under the Child and Family Agency Act, 2013, Tusla, the Child and Family Agency has statutory responsibility for the care and protection of victims of domestic, sexual or gender based violence whether in the context of the family or otherwise.

  Tusla funds 16 Rape Crisis Centres which provide a range of services to victims of sexual violence including:

  - a helpline to support callers, answer questions and provide information,

  - counselling and support,

  - advocacy,

  - provision of a trained person to accompany clients to a doctor or Sexual Assault Treatment Unit,

  - presentations/talks to various groups and students at second and third level, 

  - awareness raising activities.

  Funding allocated to Rape Crisis Centres since the establishment of Tusla in 2014 is highlighted in Table 1 below.

  Table 1: Funding Allocation to Rape Crisis Centres 2016-2019

No.   Organisation   2016   2017   2018  
No. Organisation   2016   2017   2018  
1 Rape Crisis North East €159,110 €169,110 €187,110
2 Donegal Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Centre €142,000 €168,500 €230,000
3 Rape Crisis Centre Midwest €346,400 €361,400 €407,400
4 Mayo Rape Crisis Centre €168,400 €188,400 €201,400
5 Rape Crisis Centre Kerry €208,000 €214,000 €221,000
6 Rape Crisis Centre Wexford €210,800 €216,900 €221,300
7 Galway Rape Crisis Centre €363,000 €400,805 €404,250
8 Rape Crisis Centre Sligo, Leitrim and West Cavan €168,300 €184,300 €252,550
9 Dublin Rape Crisis Centre €1,087,892 €1,141,627 €1,229,214
10 Carlow and South Leinster Rape Crisis Centre €163,500 €165,500 €249,310
11 Waterford Rape Crisis Centre €240,200 €240,200 €241,200
12 Tipperary Rape Crisis Centre €166,100 €170,100 €167,350
13 Athlone (Midlands) Rape Crisis Centre €106,300 €113,100 €113,500
14 Tullamore Rape Crisis Centre €84,300 €116,900 €120,300
15 Sexual Violence Centre Cork €290,500 €290,500 €293,000
16 Kilkenny Rape Crisis Centre €174,900 €179,500 €175,900
  Total Funding €4,079,702 €4,320,842 €4,714,784


  Funding cited for 2014-2018 represents the total funding provided, which includes core funding for the year and any additional resources that were required due to service demands.

  Tusla has advised that funding for 2019 has yet to be finalised.

Child and Family Agency Services

 502. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the average waiting times for counselling services at each of the 16 State funded rape crisis centres in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [10713/19]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Tusla, the Child and Family Agency has statutory responsibility for the care and protection of victims of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence.

  As the matters to which the Deputy refers are operational, I have requested Tusla to respond to the Deputy directly.

Child and Family Agency Data

 503. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the number of persons waiting to access rape crisis counselling services in County Louth; the length of time these persons have been waiting; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10714/19]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Tusla, the Child and Family Agency has statutory responsibility for the care and protection of victims of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence.

  As the matters to which the Deputy refers are operational, I have requested Tusla to respond to the Deputy directly.

Rape Crisis Network Funding

 504. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone further to Parliamentary Question No. 244 of 6 December 2018, the status of the engagement of Tusla in a needs analysis project in the Border region to identify gaps in service provision and to prioritise the development of sexual violence services; the stage the engagement is at; if a report will be made available; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [10715/19]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I am pleased to inform the Deputy that I have secured additional funding of €1.5m for Domestic, Sexual and Gender Based Violence services in 2019, which brings the total available funding for these services this year to €25.3m.

As part of its commissioning approach to the development of services, Tusla is currently engaged in a needs analysis project in the Border region to identify gaps in service provision and to prioritise the development of sexual violence services. This project has commenced, and is progressing. All future service developments will be informed by Tusla's commissioning approach. 

Tusla has commissioned a consultant who will be responsible, amongst other tasks, for the preparation of a final report on the needs with regard to sexual violence services in the Border region. The anticipated delivery date for the report is Quarter 3, 2019. An advisory group is also in place with this needs analysis, and it has convened on a number of occasions.

It is important that the needs of victims and survivors of sexual violence are met in the best way possible. I strongly support the work of Tusla, and I am committed to supporting the Agency in meeting the needs of individuals who experience sexual violence. 

Child and Family Agency Services

 505. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone her views on recent media reports that waiting times for rape crisis counselling have increased in view of the fact that funding has stagnated; and if a review of the assessment of service demands carried out by Tusla which determines the distribution of funding to individual rape crisis centres will be undertaken. [10716/19]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Under the Child and Family Agency Act, 2013, Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, has statutory responsibility for the provision of care and protection to victims of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence. In discharging its statutory responsibility, Tusla supports 16 Rape Crisis Centres by providing services for individuals who have experienced sexual violence.

Since taking up office, in 2016, as Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, I have prioritised the development of Domestic, Sexual and Gender Based Violence (DSGBV) services. This has been reflected in the level of additional funding provided to Tusla for these services.

In 2017, Tusla provided €22.1 million in funding to domestic, sexual and gender based violence services, an increase of €1.5m over 2016 funding. This level of funding was increased by €1.7m in 2018, bringing the total level of funding for DSGBV services to €23.8m. This funding was increased again in 2019, this time by €1.5m bringing the total level of funding to €25.3m.

Additional funding in 2019 will support the development of enhanced domestic, sexual and gender based violence services, including continued implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention) and the Second National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender Based Violence (2016 – 2021).

Tusla is responsible for the provision of services, and allocates funding to individual DSGBV organisations throughout the country. The distribution of funding to individual Rape Crisis Centres is determined by Tusla following an assessment of service demands throughout the country. Tusla has conducted, and continues to conduct, regional needs analysis projects in order to ascertain the greatest needs within a particular area for DSGBV services.

Tusla has advised me that it has a mechanism in place to enable services to apply for additional funding to increase their service provision. The mechanism requires that a business case is made and evidence is provided for both the need for additional service provision, and the organisation's capacity for additional service development. Applications are considered within budget constraints and in line with commissioning priorities. Tusla has advised that it also engages proactively with funded organisations to allocate resources for service developments.

Tusla has developed considerable expertise in this area and I support the continued development of sexual violence services in Ireland, as evidenced by the increased funding provided since 2016.

Childcare Services

 506. Deputy Bobby Aylward Information on Bobby Aylward Zoom on Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the position regarding the matter being categorised as a national crisis by many not-for-profit, community managed and operated childcare providers following recent compliance audits by Pobal (details supplied); if she has satisfied herself that the sector will not sustain mass closures and a reduction in services; the steps she has taken to avert such a situation and ensure that these services and supports will remain available to disadvantaged parents and children; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10793/19]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Assisting families to access high quality, affordable early learning and care and school age childcare is a priority for me as Minister and hence I take these issues raised in your question very seriously.

My Department funds a number of early learning and care and school age childcare programmes.  Given the large amount of public money that is used in funding these programmes, there needs to be an appropriate level of oversight and accountability. The Department of Children and Youth Affairs believes that our approach to compliance and  supporting services  strikes a necessary and appropriate balance. Our approach involves setting out the rules for the receipt of State funding, supporting providers to deliver services, and at the same time, the approach offers assurances to the taxpayer that the funding assigned is being spent as it was intended.

A high level of compliance with the rules of the various childcare schemes  is vital to maintaining existing investment as well as ensuring future investment. It is a requirement that services operating the early learning and care and school age childcare programmes funded by my Department must be compliant with the ‘Rules for DCYA childcare funding programmes’ , the most recent of which was published on 9th August 2018. Compliance with these Rules is overseen by Pobal on behalf of my Department. Because subsidies for the early learning and care and school age childcare programmes are paid based on attendance (not enrolment), this is a vital governance component of the funding for which my Department is responsible.

I very much appreciate that community childcare settings, provide a valuable service to children and families across the country. I also appreciate their stated concerns regarding their sustainability. Hence, significant support is available to them to bring their service onto a more sustainable footing, whilst being necessarily compliant with scheme rules.

My Department oversees an integrated Case Management system operated by Pobal through which a dedicated team assesses services facing challenges. This Case Management service provides non-financial assistance or support in the first instance. Financial supports are also available for services facing certain challenges which may also be accessed through Case Management following a financial assessment.

Results from Pobal compliance visits for the first part of the programme year 2018/2019 show some issues in relation to non-compliance which needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. I am encouraged however that most services have engaged constructively with the process so far. I would recommend all other services to get in contact with Pobal or their local City / County Childcare Committee if they need support or advice, or if they believe a sustainability issue arises.

The existing targeted childcare schemes will be replaced later this year with the Affordable Childcare Scheme. In the coming weeks my Department will begin to roll out a major national information campaign in relation to how this new scheme will operate. A significant amount of time will be invested in working with services to ensure that they are ready for it. The new scheme will not have a snapshot window. Its attendance rules will seek to reflect the reality of children and parents' lives and the need for services to operate as businesses. The attendance rules will reflect a certain degree of flexibility whilst honouring the requirement to ensure that Exchequer funding is used for the purposes it was intended.

The Deputy will be aware that investment in childcare has increased by an unprecedented117% over the last four budgets, now totalling  €575m per year. Community services access much of this growing investment. Turnover for many services has increased quite substantially (given that the number of servicers operating has increased only slightly) and co-payments / top-up payments made by parents has decreased, both measures assisting many services to strengthen their sustainability and review their business model to meet compliance requirements.

The Affordable Childcare Scheme will mark another significant milestone for early learning and care and school age childcare in this country, creating an infrastructure from which Government can further increase investment in services over the next decade. This is in line with the commitment made in First 5, the Whole of Government Strategy for Babies , Young Children and their Families, I published last November.

Childcare Services Data

 507. Deputy Bobby Aylward Information on Bobby Aylward Zoom on Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the number of children under the childcare support scheme that are serviced by not-for-profit, community managed and operated childcare providers by county; the number of not-for-profit, community managed and operated childcare providers which are operational in designated disadvantaged community areas by county; the number of not-for-profit, community managed and operated childcare providers operating quality childcare or early learning services which are in receipt of support by county; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10794/19]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Community and not for profit childcare services are eligible for funding for the Early Childhood Care and Education programme; the Community Childcare Subvention programmes (including the Universal subsidy); and Training and Employment Childcare programmes. 

  As well as the childcare programmes, community services are also eligible to apply for DCYA capital funding programmes. The current Capital Grant programme has three strands: Strand A is for the creation of new places for 0 - 3 year olds; Strand B is for Fire Safety improvements for community early learning and care services; and Strand C is for the creation of new school age places. Applications are currently being accepted up until the closing date of 27th March 2019. Community services may apply for funding under all three strands.

County No. of Approved Children in Community Services under ECCE/TEC/CCS/CCSP 2018 Programmes No. of Community Services in receipt of funding under ECCE/TEC/CCS/CCSP 2018 Programmes or 2018 Early Years Capital /School Age Childcare No. of Community Services in receipt of funding under 2018 Early Years Capital or School Age Childcare.
Carlow 1,198 17 1
Cavan 1,400 26 13
Clare 1,605 30 7
Cork 1,560 137 18
Donegal 2,797 73 14
Dublin 10,078 237 34
Galway 3,083 81 10
Kerry 2,737 56 5
Kildare 519 12 1
Kilkenny 1,283 24 4
Laois 1,236 18 3
Leitrim 844 20 6
Limerick 2,624 53 11
Longford 923 14 1
Louth 1,126 19 0
Mayo 1,699 56 5
Meath 1,353 20 2
Monaghan 1,970 33 5
Offaly 617 19 2
Roscommon 860 25 9
Sligo 1,359 29 12
Tipperary 1,961 45 6
Waterford 2,147 37 3
Westmeath 1,068 22 2
Wexford 2,086 45 7
Wicklow 750 21 4
Grand Total 52,883 1,169 185


Community Services /County Level of disadvantage as per Trutz Hasse Deprivation index:
County Extremely Disadvantaged Very Disadvantaged Disadvantaged Marginally below average Grand Total
Carlow     1 14 15
Cavan     5 18 23
Clare     3 15 18
Cork   4 12 55 71
Donegal   1 16 54 71
Dublin   1 53 69 123
Galway     7 36 43
Kerry     3 31 34
Kildare     1 4 5
Kilkenny     2 10 12
Laois     3 14 17
Leitrim     2 15 17
Limerick 1 8 6 27 42
Longford     4 10 14
Louth       16 16
Mayo     11 32 43
Meath       13 13
Monaghan     2 27 29
Offaly     1 16 17
Roscommon     3 18 21
Sligo       25 25
Tipperary     14 26 40
Waterford   2 5 18 25
Westmeath     2 18 20
Wexford     9 31 40
Wicklow     3 7 10
Grand Total 1 16 168 619 804

Child and Family Agency Funding

 508. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone further to Parliamentary Question No. 584 of 26 February 2019, if her Department or Tusla perform an oversight function of private care providers to ensure that the public funding being given to those providers is being used for the purposes for which it is intended and excessive sums are not being paid to company directors in dividends and so on. [10802/19]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone My Department does not have an oversight function in regard to private care providers. I am referring the Deputy's question to Tusla, the Child and Family Agency for direct reply.


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