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Zappone, Katherine

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Family Resource Centres

Was asked: her views on whether family resource centres are provided with adequate funding and supports to carry out their responsibilities; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I very much value the role that family resource centres play in providing support to vulnerable children and families. Tusla provides a significant level of financial support to family resource ce...More Button

Family resource centres are supported by two regional support agencies, which are funded by Tusla under the family and community services resource centre programme. These support agencies play a...More Button

Tusla also provides funding under the programme to the family resource centre national forum. The forum operates as a network for all family resource centres. It provides networking and trainin...More Button

Was asked: her plans to review and increase the number of family resource centres in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I very much value the role that Family Resource Centres play in providing support to vulnerable children and families around the country. Tusla provides financial support to some 109 communities t...More Button

Last November, I met with representatives from the Kildare Youth Service, Kildare Children and Young People's Service Committee, Kildare Local Community Development Committee and the Tusla Area M...More Button

At that meeting, I was informed of a number of issues including a request for the provision of additional Family Resource Centres in Co. Kildare. I advised the Co. Kildare representatives at the...More Button

Tusla plans to build on the strengths of the programme in the years ahead to deliver its mandate for community-based early intervention and family support. More Button

Tusla is currently finalising details of the funding to be allocated to the Family and Community Services Resource Centre Programme, and will be confirming funding levels for individual centres s...More Button

Was asked: her views on whether family resource centres are provided with adequate funding and supports to carry out their responsibilities; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I very much value the role that Family Resource Centres play in providing support to vulnerable children and families around the country. More Button

Tusla provides financial support to some 109 communities through the Family and Community Services Resource Centre Programme. This typically covers the employment of two to three members of staf...More Button

Family Resource Centres are supported by two Regional Support Agencies, which are funded by Tusla under the Family and Community Services Resource Centre Programme. These support agencies play a...More Button

Tusla also provides funding under the Programme to the Family Resource Centre National Forum. The Forum operates as a network for all Family Resource Centres. It provides networking and trainin...More Button

Tusla plans to build on the strengths of the programme in the years ahead as it delivers on its mandate for community-based early intervention and family support. More Button

Tusla is currently finalising details of the funding to be allocated to Family Resource Centres in 2017, and will be confirming funding levels for individual centres shortly.More Button

Family Resource Centres (Continued)

I thank Deputy Rabbitte for those qualifying questions. Tusla is currently finalising details of the funding to be allocated to family resource centres in 2017. As the Deputy knows, I was able to...More Button

I have no doubt that Tusla will be aware of and listening to the comments that the Deputy is raising, as I am myself, in terms of the ways in which the supports and resources that are being provide...More Button

Early Childhood Care and Education Programmes

Was asked: her views on the sustainability of zero to three years services in the community setting in view of changes in regulations; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I acknowledge the Deputy's initial comments. I am very willing and happy to participate in any of the decisions that the business committee is now engaged in. With regard to the parliamentary que...More Button

Some services providing this care have been impacted by the full implementation of the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016, which requires that all staff should hold a min...More Button

In order to assist the services in addressing this challenge, I recently announced that €1 million of additional funding will be made available to child care providers who have been facilitating ...More Button

In preparation for the implementation of the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016, which the Deputy's question refers to, child care committees Ireland were commissioned by...More Button

This research 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 co...More Button

As Deputy Ó Laoghaire is well aware, we have had these discussions extensively with regard to concerns that he has raised about centres in his own constituency. We have been attentive to those and...More Button

It is.More Button

Early Childhood Care and Education Programmes (Continued)

I will answer the Deputy's last question first. I would be happy to hold a meeting such as the one he requests. Second, with regard to funding for sustainability measures in a long-term capacity,...More Button

Foster Care Supports

Was asked: if her attention has been drawn to widespread reports that a large number of those children leaving foster care here on their 18th birthday do not receive aftercare support plans; and if she will m...More Button

I thank Deputy Rabbitte. I am happy to reply to her question again, with perhaps some additional information.More Button

Under Tusla's current national leaving and aftercare policy, young people leaving care are expected to have an aftercare plan. Tusla has informed me that from January up to the end of September ...More Button

Tusla is putting in place revisions to its operational national leaving and aftercare policy to bring it into line with the Child Care (Amendment) Act 2015. Once the amendments to the 1991 Act a...More Button

As Deputy Rabbitte knows, I always appreciate hearing her examples and about the conversations she is having as it is important for me, as Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, to hear that as I...More Button

Statistics are important but as the Deputy said, they are not everything. I will make some additional comments in response to the questions the Deputy raised. I refer to young persons who are e...More Button

I accept and acknowledge the responsibilities of which Deputy Rabbitte speaks. It is correct that she should do so. What I have been indicating is an awareness of what the Deputy is saying while ...More Button

Child and Family Agency Data

Was asked: the number of children that have been brought to the attention of the child welfare and protection services and have not yet been allocated a social worker; if targets for reduction in these cases ...More Button

I acknowledge Deputy O'Sullivan's concerns.More Button

Child and Family Agency Data (Continued)

Of course, I understand them. As I said, I am willing to engage should that be the decision of the Business Committee.

  On the question the Deputy has put before me, as she is ...More Button

I thank the Deputy. I concur that her ability to do maths is good and accept what she said. Although there was a significant reduction of 19% in the number of unallocated cases in 2016, that does...More Button

On the 24-hour service, I am aware of the issue, as is Tusla. We hope that in time we will be able to improve it and move beyond the current arrangements.More Button

What I will say in response to the Deputy's question is that there are systems now in place. As she is aware, I have requested a full review of the systems and processes of Tusla in connection wit...More Button

Child Care Services Staff

Was asked: her views on reports that Ireland's child care sector is becoming financially unviable, particularly with regard to working conditions and pay for staff; and if she will make a statement on the mat...More Button

Staff in the child care sector have a critical role to play in delivering high-quality child care services and deserve to be valued and respected for the important role they play with children. Be...More Button

The programme for Government commits to carrying out an independent review of the cost of providing quality child care, which probably has more to do with what will happen in the medium term. Th...More Button

I am pleased that the previous two budgets delivered a 35% increase each year in funding for child care services. We need to continue to invest and I will argue for more resources in 2018. To g...More Button

Was asked: if her attention has been drawn to the difficulties being experienced by the operators of private creche facilities in recruiting and retaining staff; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am very much aware of the difficulties being reported regarding the recruitment and retention of early years staff. The matter has been discussed at the Early Years Forum which I chair, and in o...More Button

We are working with the Department of Education and Skills to develop a new Early Years workforce plan. This will examine workforce supply issues.More Button

I am also aware that pay and conditions of staff is a significant barrier to retaining staff in the sector. Whilst my Department is not an employer of childcare workers, we are a significant fun...More Button

It is clear that we need to focus collaboratively on how best to make the early years sector an attractive and personally rewarding place in which to work. I think that pay is only one issue, al...More Button

These increases reflect the emphasis I am placing on developing a quality service with appropriately supported staff. In this regard, the City & County Childcare Committees are assisting service...More Button

Childcare workers are part of a growing sector, which the Government is strongly supporting. I believe that by working together we can ensure that it is a viable and strong sector which makes a ...More Button

  Questions Nos. 48 to 52, inclusive, answered orally.More Button

Child Care Services Staff (Continued)

I will take the Deputy's last question, on whether it would feed into the negotiations for budget 2018. The answer is "Absolutely". I am happy to come back with an exact, or almost exact, deadlin...More Button

We anticipate that this will come and will give us more evidence than we have now to enable us to have strong negotiations for budget 2018.More Button

I am very aware of those issues, which the organisations in question have also brought to my attention. There is a diversity of cost bases, depending on where they are located, and we must address...More Button

I agree that concerns around the pay and conditions of the child care workforce are real, and evidence for these is backed up by the reported difficulties. These concerns have been discussed in ...More Button

Child Protection

Was asked: the steps her Department has taken or proposes to take to identify and provide the necessary back-up for children at risk, whether from physical or mental abuse, neglect or other failure; if she is...More Button

I assure the Deputy that Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, deals immediately with emergency cases, including for instance if a child has been abandoned or is in immediate physical danger or at im...More Button

Tusla is responsible for children who need protection and need to be entered into care. The implementation of the Children First guidelines will be the basis on which concerns about children self-...More Button

Interagency co-operation is key, involving HSE, hospitals and Tusla and the Department. The interdepartmental working group is looking at this and ensuring that protocols of interagency co-operati...More Button

Was asked: the steps she will take or proposes to take to ensure a more rapid response to reported abuse of children, whether of a physical or sexual nature; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, holds the statutory responsibility for child welfare and protection, and is the appropriate body to receive reports of concerns relating to children at risk. I ...More Button

Approximately 60% of referrals to Tusla are of a child welfare concern with the remaining 40% related to child protection concerns. Tusla's policy is to refer child welfare referrals to relevant...More Button

I am committed to commencing the Children First Act 2015 by the end of the year. As the Deputy will be aware, the Children First Act 2015 will see mandatory reporting by key professionals, manda...More Button

I secured additional funding of €37 million in 2017, bringing Tusla's overall allocation to over €700 million which allows Tusla to continue its journey in building an effective and responsive ch...More Button

Child Protection (Continued)

In this way, any child who is in harm's way, whether because of self-harm or any child care or protection issues, will be dealt with appropriately and not left to chance, or dealt with inappropriat...More Button

Unaccompanied Minors and Separated Children

Was asked: the way in which her Department is working with the Departments of Justice and Equality, Foreign Affairs and Trade, Education and Skills and Health to ensure that concerted adequate provision is ma...More Button

I am working closely with my Government colleagues in regard to unaccompanied minors being received through the Irish Refugee Protection Programme. The new International Protection Act 2015 has be...More Button

My colleagues, the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality and the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, and I are working closely to progress the Dáil resolution on unaccompanied minors...More Button

At the end of last year, I visited Greece and saw the valuable work being done under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme. I met with resilient families and young people who need our help. My...More Button

I will try to answer.More Button

There were two or three questions. In regard to family reunification rights for any unaccompanied minor who comes into the country by whatever route he or she arrives, one of the first things Tusl...More Button

I can certainly get the information on how many we have taken in under the terms of the overall programme. The numbers are increasing subsequent to the visit the Tánaiste and I made to Greece to s...More Button

I am clear about the unaccompanied minors. There was a commitment in the initial programme for 20, and we have approximately four or five now. One of the issues concerning unaccompanied minors ...More Button

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 2 of 14 December 2016, her views on the length of time children will spend in State care before they can be fostered by families and while all necessary protoc...More Button

The Deputy's question last December referred to unaccompanied minors who are received into State care and remain in care until they are 18, whatever their placement type. Tusla is determined to pr...More Button

As I noted previously, the equity of care principle that each child receives the same as any other child ensures that services focus on the needs of the child. The child will have a care plan de...More Button

I was asked about the waiting lists for unaccompanied minors and whether there were foster families for them.More Button

Was asked: the services her Department will be making available to unaccompanied minors arriving here; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am very conscious of the need for additional resources for the Separated Children Seeking Asylum team in Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, to allow us to respond to the current crisis facing al...More Button

I have asked Tusla to expand the Separated Children's team to progress the Dail resolution on unaccompanied minors who were previously in unofficial camps near Calais. Tusla is putting in place ...More Button

I have committed to making sure that this service is properly resourced, and that the high standard of the current service continues. The estimates of the cost involved will be kept under review...More Button

Was asked: the integration and mental health services being made available for refugee children upon entering Ireland; the number of child refugees that her Department is anticipating in 2017; and the capacit...More Button

In regard to children being relocated from France, I requested that Tusla put in place a project office to manage the assessment and reception of children being relocated following the Dail resolut...More Button

Based on current commitments and the likely number that will be referred from immigration services, which can vary from year to year, it is expected that there will be at least 160 unaccompanied ...More Button

The separated children's team is being expanded to include additional social workers, social care staff and residential centres for assessment and accommodation. This team has developed a well r...More Button

I have been advised that the residential accommodation and additional staff to expand the separated children's team is in hand. I have committed to providing Tusla with the necessary funding to ...More Button

Was asked: the resources, existing or additional, that have been allocated to Tusla to facilitate the arrival and integration of unaccompanied child refugees from the former Calais camp; and if she will make ...More Button

I am very conscious of the need for additional resources for the Separated Children Seeking Asylum team in Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, to allow us to respond to the current crisis facing al...More Button

I have asked Tusla to expand the Separated Children's team to progress the Dail resolution on unaccompanied minors who were previously in unofficial camps near Calais. Tusla is putting in place ...More Button

I have committed to making sure that this service is properly resourced, and that the high standard of the current service continues. I am sure you will understand that the estimates of the cost...More Button

Homelessness Strategy

Was asked: her views on children of homeless parents being put into care; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Being homeless is distressing and stressful for children and adults alike. In the context of the Child Care Act 1991, my Department has policy responsibility for children under 18 years of age who...More Button

Children under the age of 16 who present as homeless without their parent or guardian are taken into care. Children aged 16 and 17 may be taken into care or provided with a service under section...More Button

Homelessness Strategy (Continued)

Where there are no welfare or protection concerns, Tusla's role is to provide family support where this is required. Tusla has agreed a joint protocol with the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive w...More Button

My Department is working closely with Tusla to provide additional supports for families in emergency accommodation to mitigate the challenges faced by parents and children in this situation. Tus...More Button

I thank Deputy Coppinger for setting out the ways in which she has information on her concern that somehow children of homeless parents are entering into a route of care. This not my understanding...More Button

If there is a child protection concern, Tusla will investigate. The immediate safety of the child is the social work department's first consideration. A social work assessment is child-centred an...More Button

In terms of the commitment to children in the context of emergency accommodation and homelessness, the plan Rebuilding Ireland commits to the identification of young people leaving State care who...More Button

Unaccompanied Minors and Separated Children (Continued)

In the case of unaccompanied minors who come through the former Calais route or those coming through other routes, the older they are the better it is for them to have an additional assessment in t...More Button

In terms of ensuring we provide the kind of security and base out of which they can continue to live in this country and look for education, training and employment opportunities, I agree with the ...More Button

As the Deputy will appreciate, the issue of status is not something for which I am directly responsible. On reaching the age of 18, many decide to stay with their foster families and Tusla suppo...More Button

Housing Issues

Was asked: her views on the effects that the housing crisis is having on children in view of the fact that parents in emergency and transitional accommodation are by their very nature in a precarious position...More Button

I am very conscious of the effects of the housing crisis on children when they and their families are in emergency accommodation. As part of a whole-of-Government approach to homelessness, I am co...More Button

On the last question Deputy O'Sullivan raised, I fully agree with her on the amount of time that children ought to be with their families in that context. I have held discussions with the Minister...More Button

On the issue of transport in the context of emergency accommodation, as the Deputy is aware I have been committed to trying to mitigate the impact of that since taking up office. It is important t...More Button

Housing Issues (Continued)

A total of 524 Leap cards were distributed to families in hotels in 2016 as an interim measure pending the development of what is called a "ticketing solution". The percentage breakdown of the edu...More Button

Youth Services

Was asked: her views on linking in community and youth services with schools in the local area in terms of awareness programmes dealing with the dangers of misuse and abuse relating to drugs, alcohol and gamb...More Button

I agree with the Deputy that we need an integrated approach to the programmes that aim to support children and young people, especially for those at high risk. My concern is to ensure that we targ...More Button

My Department administers a range of funding schemes and programmes to support the provision of youth services by the voluntary youth sector to young people throughout the country. The funding s...More Button

I was pleased to provide an additional €5.5 million in current funding for voluntary youth services in 2017. This is a 10% increase over 2016 and will support, in the main, the targeted programm...More Button

From within this budget, my Department provides funding to projects that are located in disadvantaged areas where a significant addiction problem exists or has the potential to develop. The obje...More Button

As the Deputy knows, these services are generally delivered on a non-formal or out-of-school basis to supplement the work of the education sector and to reach young people through non-formal mean...More Button

I thank Deputy O'Sullivan. She referred to the day I came to her constituency and the conference that was being held by all of the groups that are engaged in working with young people. Many young...More Button

I agree with what the Deputy presented. She will be aware that I have a number of years of experience working in similar and comparable communities as well. I am aware of the absolute importance ...More Button

Child Poverty

Was asked: if she will establish a cross-departmental task force to address the recent finding of a survey on income and living conditions that children in one-parent families are much more likely to live in ...More Button

The reduction of children's poverty is a key political priority for the Government. The Taoiseach has described tackling child poverty as a moral imperative and I too believe that it is a vital is...More Button

The Department of Social Protection has the lead role in co-ordinating Government strategies on child poverty and is adopting a cross-departmental approach. It also has lead responsibility for t...More Button

Was asked: if she will urgently establish an interdepartmental task force to address the escalating national crisis of child poverty in view of the fact that according to the most recent SILC report 2015 a ch...More Button

The reduction of children's poverty is a key political priority for me as a Minister. I have devoted all of my professional life in Ireland to the development of community based approaches to tack...More Button

Was asked: the actions which have been taken to tackle child poverty by increasing community based early intervention programmes as specifically provided for on page 77 of the programme for Government; and if...More Button

This Government and my Department remain committed, as outlined in the programme for Government, to addressing the contributions to child poverty and the improvement of outcomes for children in Ire...More Button

One of these is the ABC programme, which is a prevention and early intervention initiative led by my Department aimed at testing and evaluating prevention and early intervention approaches to imp...More Button

In budget 2016, my Department secured an additional €4.5 million to extend the entire existing ABC programme to the end of December 2017, bringing the total investment to €34.2 million. This ext...More Button

My Department will utilise the emerging learning from the ABC programme and the findings from the national evaluation to inform the design of prevention and early intervention initiatives that co...More Button

A key purpose of the ABC programme is to identify the learning in and across the sites, and to transfer this learning into existing and established services, thus bringing improvements not only i...More Button

This Quality and Capacity Building Initiative (QCBI) aims to embed prevention and early intervention in services for children and young people, through resourcing a system change across service p...More Button

My Department continues to engage with interested stakeholders in working on mainstreaming the learning from existing programmes and improving the lives of children across Ireland.More Button

Was asked: if she will establish a cross-departmental task force to address a crisis (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In recognition of the higher risks and life-long consequences of child poverty, the Government set a child-specific poverty target in Better Outcomes, Better Future: the National Policy Framework f...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which she can foresee the possibility of addressing the underlying issues contributing to child poverty or affecting child welfare and-or abuse; if she expects to see opportunities to...More Button

My Department is committed to addressing the issues contributing to child poverty and supporting child welfare and protection. In order to effectively address each of these issues, my Department i...More Button

Child Poverty (Continued)

In recognition of the fact that child poverty is a multifaceted problem, the group includes officials from other Departments, including the Departments of Health and Education and Skills. Led by t...More Button

We are fully committed to a whole-of-Government approach to reducing child poverty. We understand that addressing child poverty requires access to adequate resources and that this issue is related...More Button

On the issues the Deputy raised, the Minister for Social Protection is working on a new initiative on working family payments. It focuses specifically on reducing child poverty and ensuring grea...More Button

Clarification of Statements made by the Taoiseach and Ministers: Statements (Continued)

I met Lorraine and Maurice McCabe on 25 January 2017. Many Members of this House have also met them and will be aware of the heavy burden of the hurt and wrongdoing that has been inflicted on them...More Button

I was deeply conscious then and since then that it is the State that has almost destroyed this family. I was absolutely determined that, in every action I took, I would try to ensure that I, as ...More Button

At my request, Tusla provided a chronology and outline of their case to me on Friday, 27 January. I made arrangements to give these to the McCabes on Saturday, 28 January. I also included a let...More Button

Tusla has apologised to the McCabes, will co-operate fully with the tribunal of inquiry and has deleted the information held electronically on the McCabe family, including Sergeant Maurice McCabe...More Button

It is my view, though, that the apology and these actions are not enough. An independent external review must take place of Tusla procedures and protocols for dealing with child abuse complaints...More Button

In terms of political developments, there were three interactions with Government colleagues. My adviser met an adviser from the Taoiseach's office on Tuesday, 24 January, the day before I was d...More Button

During the Cabinet meeting, it was my belief that Tusla would be covered by the inquiry under the terms of reference before us. I noted from radio and television interviews and debates over the ...More Button

Perhaps I was overly cautious in protecting the details of the information that I had, and if that is the case, then I accept that. However, let us be clear that incorrect information circulatin...More Button

The question remains as to whether I should have spoken up at Cabinet. The situation I was in was to consider whether providing information at Cabinet was necessary to achieve what I wanted to a...More Button

As part of this learning, I would like to explore with my colleagues if there is a way that we could have time to look at sensitive memos for the Government in advance of Cabinet meetings. There...More Button

I also accept that there was confusion around my statements on Friday last. As the House knows, Friday was difficult in terms of communication, as I was on a brief visit to the west coast of the...More Button

I would like to reiterate that, for my own part, it was always my view that Tusla would be subject to the commission or tribunal of inquiry, a view that the chair of the commission seems to share...More Button

I have a job to do. I am the only Independent woman in the Cabinet and I like to think that I bring a different perspective than my colleagues. I believe that I can bring an influence that woul...More Button

People can accuse me of being politically naive. I do not agree, but people are entitled to their opinion. I would prefer that charge, even if I do not agree with it, rather than be the source ...More Button

I have read the statement issued by Maurice and Lorraine McCabe. They have asked questions of present and former members of Government. They have asked if persons acting as Minister for Childre...More Button

They further identify six questions that they would like answered. I believe that two of these questions could relate to Tusla. Who interviewed the alleged victim in respect of that allegation ...More Button

Clarification of Statements made by the Taoiseach and Ministers: Statements (Resumed) (Continued)

I thank Deputy Ó Laoghaire for those questions. I believe they are excellent and relevant questions. These are the issues that I expect will be covered in the statutory investigation that we are ...More Button

I will answer Deputy Howlin's last question first. No, I was not advised. I was not aware of the contents of what we would be discussing that morning regarding the response to the O'Neill report....More Button

With regard to the Deputy's first question, I have already answered that. I made a decision. I discerned the information that had been shared with me by the McCabe family in that original meeti...More Button

No, they were not.More Button

I have information. I am sorry, Deputy, but I am just trying to recall absolutely clearly information that went back and forth that may have had initials as distinct from full names of the people ...More Button

I do not have that explicit information.More Button

This is the first time I have spoken on this issue in the Dáil. I do not believe I have misled the Dáil. As I said in response to Deputy Wallace earlier, certain information is available but it i...More Button

In response to Deputy Mattie McGrath, I am deeply concerned about Tusla which is why I have requested that statutory investigation. As the Tánaiste has said, it is a relatively new organisation. ...More Button

I appreciate Deputy Catherine Martin's questions. Of course, that is exactly what I want to do - to ensure that this will not happen from this day forth. That is what we have communicated in our ...More Button

At the same time, I have deep concerns about the nature of this case. It is critical in terms of my leadership to ensure that we have that investigation to determine if the systems and processes a...More Button

I support what the Tánaiste says. I can understand why the Deputy is asking the question. He may have a suggestion in terms of other ways to get at that more quickly than what we are identifying ...More Button

When I communicated with the Tánaiste, I did not say what the meeting was about because I did not know what it was about at the time.More Button

I was aware of the "Prime Time" programme as it was being aired. I was not aware that it would happen prior to that. I think that covers the Deputy's first two questions. The third que...More Button

Just prior to it doing that.More Button

I think I was away at that time. I need to recollect and I will come back to the Deputy on that.More Button

I wanted to respond to Deputy Rabbitte.More Button

On the question about an apology, we asked Tusla to issue an apology after our meeting and were examining the most appropriate way to do it and we did see it before it was issued. If I may, I will...More Button

In relation to the protected disclosure?More Button

To meet them about what?More Button

In which he indicated a series of questions on which he was looking for a response.More Button

My understanding, from what the Tánaiste has said, is that is in reference to a protected disclosure.More Button

I will consider it.More Button

I am sorry but I did not hear the Deputy's question.More Button

Yes, it was as Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.More Button

I will meet him.More Button

In relation to the Commissioner, I believe in due process.More Button

Is Deputy O'Sullivan asking if the question she has raised is one of the six submitted?More Button

I have received answers from Tusla. We have sent them to the McCabes and are waiting to hear back from them in terms of whether or not as far as they are concerned they are correct. When I get th...More Button

NoMore Button

It was done-----More Button

It was done at the request of the McCabes.More Button

There is a paper file available that will go to the public inquiry.More Button

I am sorry-----More Button

Let me be perfectly clear. I had communication from another Garda whistleblower. I did not say that it was explicitly about a similar type of case, but there was engagement between Tusla and the ...More Button

I am sorry-----More Button

That will be a part of the investigation.More Button

Youth Services Funding

Was asked: her views on the cuts in funding that many organisations in the youth services sector have experienced since 2011; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am pleased to confirm that I have allocated an extra €5.5m in current funding to support the provision of youth services in 2017. This will bring the total youth funding by my Department to €57....More Button

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 communitie...More Button

I acknowledge, and very much regret, the cuts that were made to youth funding in earlier years.More Button

My Department, along with all Government Departments, was required to deliver substantial savings on all funding programmes in line with the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure 2012 – 2014. My D...More Button

I am pleased that we have turned the tide of these cuts now, with a 10% increase this year over 2016. My Department has carried out a Value for Money and Policy Review of a number of schemes sup...More Button

I want to streamline the various funding schemes for youth services so that we maximise their benefit and target money to best effect. I have prioritised the work on developing a new integrated ...More Button

Finally, I am committed to continuing to seek additional support for youth services in Budget 2018 and beyond.More Button

Was asked: the reason funding has been withdrawn from an organisation (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

It is important to say at the outset that there is no reduction in funding for youth services in Roscommon North East Galway. The decision to withdraw funding from the Special Projects for Youth p...More Button

Following engagement with Youth Work Ireland Roscommon North East Galway, my Department received no assurances that the youth services being provided by them were to a level that met the needs of...More Button

It is important to note that the Department's decision to cease funding to Youth Work Ireland Roscommon North East Galway was supported by Youth Work Ireland's National Office and by the Galway R...More Button

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that Galway and Roscommon Education and Training Board is putting in place replacement quality youth services in all three locations from this month onwards, on ...More Button

Was asked: the reason funding has been withdrawn from an organisation (details supplied) in respect of a number of youth projects, namely Roscommon town, Castlerea, Arigna and Ballaghaderreen in County Roscom...More Button

It is important to note at the outset that there is no reduction in funding for youth services in Roscommon North East Galway. My Department withdrew funding from the Special Projects for Youth pr...More Button

The decision to withdraw funding from the Special Projects for Youth projects in Ballaghaderreen and the Youth Information Centre in Roscommon town, both of which were operated by Youth Work Irel...More Button

It is important to note that the Department's decision to cease funding to Youth Work Ireland Roscommon North East Galway was supported by Youth Work Ireland's National Office and by the Galway R...More Button

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that Galway and Roscommon Education and Training Board is putting in place replacement quality youth services in all three locations from this month onwards, on ...More Button

Child and Family Agency Services

Was asked: the steps that can be taken to increase resources to the Tusla specialist team for separated children.More Button

I am very conscious of the need for additional resources for the Separated Children Seeking Asylum team in Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, to allow us to respond to the current crisis facing al...More Button

I have asked Tusla to expand the Separated Children's team to progress the Dail resolution on unaccompanied minors who were previously in unofficial camps near Calais. Tusla is putting in place ...More Button

I have committed to making sure that this service is properly resourced, and that the high standard of the current service continues. Estimates of the cost involved will be kept under review as ...More Button

Mother and Baby Homes Inquiries

Was asked: the additional matters that are delaying the publication of the second interim report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes.More Button

Was asked: when the second interim report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes will be published; when the final report will be published; and if she will make a statement on the matt...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 55 and 66 together.More Button

As I have previously outlined to the House, it is my intention to publish the Second Interim Report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes in conjunction with the Governmen...More Button

Given the broad scope of the Commission's work a number of issues in the Report extend beyond the remit of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. Therefore, it has been necessary for me t...More Button

I do acknowledge that this process has taken longer than I initially envisaged and I am sensitive to the expectations of former residents and their advocates in this regard. For this reason, I a...More Button

I will ensure that arrangements are made to inform representative groups of developments on the Report before making any public announcement. I hope to conclude matters as quickly as possible.More Button

Was asked: the status of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes.More Button

The Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes and certain related matters was established by Government Order on the 17th February 2015.More Button

In accordance with its comprehensive Terms of Reference, the Commission is tasked with thoroughly examining the experience of mothers and children resident in 14 named Mother and Baby Homes and a...More Button

The Commission is required to address seven specific questions on the practices and procedures relating to the care, welfare, entry arrangements and exit pathways for the women and children who w...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware the Commission is independent in the conduct of its investigations. Therefore I am not in a position to provide progress updates on its investigations. Updates are p...More Button

In relation to milestones to date the Commission submitted its First Interim Report in July 2016. The Government agreed to a request from the Commission to extend the time frame of two of the th...More Button

A Second Interim Report has been submitted by the Commission in response to this request. Since receiving this report I have met with the Commission to discuss the report and the general progres...More Button

The Deputy may also wish to note that the Commission has set a closing date for applications to meet the Confidential Committee of Wednesday 1 March. I want to encourage former residents who ar...More Button

Was asked: her views on proposals from survivor groups to provide for memorials for those that were incarcerated at mother and baby homes, as promised to them by the previous Minister.More Button

I recognise the importance and value of memorials for former residents of mother and baby homes and their families. A number of advocacy groups have made representations to me seeking support for ...More Button

I am pleased to advise the Deputy that funding has been identified from within my Department's 2017 Vote to support the provision of memorials. It is clear that an inclusive approach is a crucia...More Button

I would hope that this could be significantly advanced while the Commission's work is on-going and my officials will be in contact with representative groups in the coming weeks.More Button

Child Care Services Funding

Was asked: her views on the fact that the single affordable child care scheme will not take rent or mortgage payments into consideration when calculating parents' level of subsidisation; and if she will make ...More Button

I have given considerable thought to the question of taking rent or mortgage payments into account when calculating the subsidy under the new scheme. In doing so, I was conscious that excluding ho...More Button

Allowing the deductibility of housing costs would, in effect, mean that the Affordable Childcare Scheme would part-subsidise families’ housing choices. For example, we may consider two families ...More Button

Eligibility for the Affordable Childcare Scheme (ACS) is based on net parental income, and the highest levels of support will be offered to those on the lowest incomes. ACS is fairer and more ac...More Button

While I acknowledge the financial burden of housing costs for many families with children, ACS aims to target subsidies on the basis of an equitable assessment of the total income coming into a f...More Button

I believe that this is the right way forward. We will no doubt debate this and many other matters when the House considers the forthcoming legislation on the Affordable Childcare Scheme.More Button

Child Care Services Provision

Was asked: the further supports she will introduce to support community child care providers' work towards sustainability following the changes whereby the community employment workers have been removed from ...More Button

I recently announced that €1m of additional funding will be made available to childcare providers who have been facilitating the training of Community Employment (CE) scheme workers, to ensure that...More Button

In preparation for the implementation of the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016, Childcare Committees Ireland were commissioned by my Department to investigate the impact...More Button

This research indicated that the vast majority of services would not face financial hardship as a result of changes required under the regulations. However this did find that some services had c...More Button

As a result, I have made available up to €2,000 for services to assist with the recruitment process or to provide expert support in HR management, with additional money being provided to each ser...More Button

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 sus...More Button

All Community Childcare services around the country were afforded an opportunity to engage with this project during 2016, and detailed analysis has been completed. As some services clearly neede...More Button

Was asked: if the affordable child care scheme will be available to parents from September 2017 through an online information technology system; the supports being developed for parents with the application t...More Button

I acknowledge the concern of both parents and childcare providers who are understandably anxious to receive further information about the roll-out of the Affordable Childcare Scheme. The Scheme is...More Button

The Affordable Childcare Scheme will commence in September 2017. The timeframe is ambitious, and it is possible that there may not be a fully automated system by then. However, officials from m...More Button

This system is being designed so as to minimise the administrative burden on both parents and childcare providers. Full information on the Scheme will be made available well in advance of Septem...More Button

Was asked: in view of the fact that, currently, school age child care services cannot register with Tusla but are able to avail of schemes offering funded child care to low income families and families availi...More Button

Quality assurance will be an absolute prerequisite for participation in the Affordable Childcare Scheme. The Scheme will be open to all Tusla-registered childcare providers, including child minder...More Button

In order to meet the needs of parents whose preference is to use a child minder, and to build capacity to cater for increased demand in future years, the Department has commenced talks with Child...More Button

My colleague Minister Bruton and I will shortly publish an Action Plan on School Age Childcare which will include actions relating to the development of quality standards for the school age child...More Button

Homeless Persons Supports

Was asked: her plans with the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government to monitor and protect the well-being of children experiencing homelessness; and if she will make a statement on th...More Button

As part of a whole-Government approach to homelessness, with input across different departments, I am also committed to helping children and families by supporting implementation of Rebuilding I...More Button

Was asked: the mental health or counselling supports her Department is providing to the over 2,500 homeless children across the country; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

While my Department and Tusla have no responsibility in relation to mental health services, I would like to inform the Deputy of Tusla’s response, relevant to this area.More Button

A child, irrespective of accommodation status, who comes to the attention of Tusla and whose circumstances are such, will, where the appropriate threshold has been reached, have an assessment car...More Button

Where Tusla has concerns regarding the welfare and development of a child, due to parenting difficulties or adverse environmental factors, they will provide family supports to assist the family a...More Button

If during the course of an assessment the social worker forms the view that a further mental health assessment is required an appropriate referral will be made for the child in question. Social ...More Button

Policy in relation to mental health and associated service provision is a matter for the Department of Health and the Health Service Executive respectively, who may be able to provide further and...More Button

Youth Services Provision

Was asked: her plans to support the youth services sector and acknowledge the work being carried out by organisations within the community; her further plans to increase funding through the youth services gra...More Button

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....More Button

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 €10.15m. This...More Button

Budget 2017 provided an additional €5.5m in current funding to my Department to support the provision of youth services. This will bring the total youth funding in 2017 to €57.4m. This addition...More Button

Budget 2017 also provided €2.6m to my Department for a capital funding scheme for youth projects and services. Work on the development of a new capital funding scheme for 2017 is underway and I ...More Button

Was asked: the status of discussions between her Department and the Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board on the appointment of a dedicated youth officer for County Kildare; and if she will make a ...More Button

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board has requested funding from my Department for the provision of a full time youth officer for County Kildare. ...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which her Department has received applications for financial support from various youth organisations throughout the country in the current year; the extent to which she expects to be...More Button

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....More Button

The schemes include the Youth Service Grant Scheme under which funding is made available on an annual basis to 30 national and major regional youth organisations. Targeted supports for disadvant...More Button

Youth projects and services in receipt of funding are required to complete an annual application form for my Department. The process also involves the submission of an annual progress report det...More Button

My Department also funds the Local Youth Club Grant Scheme, which supports youth work activities at a local level. These grants are made available to all youth clubs and groups through the local...More Button

The question of additional funding to my Department to support the provision of youth services is a matter for consideration in the context of the annual Estimates and Budgetary processes and hav...More Button

These youth organisations and projects came to my Department's attention through engagement with the national youth organisations, youth officers in the Education and Training Boards, through rep...More Button

I and officials of my Department have met, and continue to meet regularly, with youth organisations and projects. My aim is to see how we can work together to bring about the best possible outco...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which a co-ordinated youth support service exist throughout the country; her plans to address such issues; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

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....More Button

My Department maintains close contact with the youth services throughout the country, and works closely with Education and Training Boards throughout the country. More Button

My Department works closely with the national and major regional youth organisations, including the National Youth Council or Ireland, which has a representative role for the voluntary youth serv...More Button

In line with the national Youth Strategy 2015 – 2020, the focus is on the outcomes to be achieved for young people in all developmental aspects of their lives, so that they are active and healthy...More Button

Youth Officers of the Education and Training Boards have an important support role to my Department, in the administration and coordination of youth services at local level. Youth Officers engag...More Button

Many Youth Officers and local youth services participate in the Children and Young People’s Services Committees, set up by my Department, throughout the country. These Committees provide a forum...More Button

I, and officials of my Department have met, and continue to meet regularly, with youth organisations and groups. My aim is to see how we can work together in a coordinated way to bring about the...More Button

Children and Family Services Provision

Was asked: the details of any study and research undertaken by her Department in association with the Department of Justice and Equality regarding the damage to children affected by parental imprisonment and ...More Button

My Department has not engaged in any specific study related to potential damage to children affected by parental imprisonment.

  However, I note my colleague the Tánaiste Deputy...More Button

Child Detention Centres

Was asked: the number of children currently in adult prisons; the reason they remain in inappropriate facilities; the steps being taken to end this situation; the date it is expected that this will be resolve...More Button

It is Government Policy to end the practice of detaining children in adult facilities. Currently all children, other than 17 year old boys serving a sentence, are referred by the Courts to Obersto...More Button

When the requisite number of places are available, following the completion of works required following a serious incident on the Campus in late August 2016, 17 year old boys who are serving a se...More Button

It is hoped that the Campus will be in a position to accept the 17 year old boys serving a sentence at an early date which will end the practice of any children being detained in adult facilities.More Button

  Question No. 66 answered with Question No. 55.More Button

Family Support Services

Was asked: her plans for the evaluation of outcomes from the ABC programme; the arrangements being made for the future funding of the work being done with vulnerable children and their families through the pr...More Button

The ABC programme is a prevention and early intervention initiative led by my Department. The programme commenced in 2013 and was designed as a time-bound co-funding arrangement for the period 201...More Button

Was asked: if her Department has undertaken any study or research in association with the Department of Justice and Equality regarding the damage to children affected by parental imprisonment; the way in whic...More Button

My Department has not engaged in any specific study related to potential damage to children affected by parental imprisonment.

  However, I note, my cabinet colleague Tánaiste Fr...More Button

Aftercare Services Provision

Was asked: if her attention has been drawn to widespread reports that a large number of those children leaving foster care here on their 18th birthday do not receive aftercare support plans; and if she will m...More Button

Under Tusla's current National Leaving and Aftercare Policy, young people leaving care are expected to have an aftercare plan. Tusla has informed me that from January up to the end of September 2...More Button

Child Care Services

Was asked: the supports that have been put in place towards the re-opening of a centre (details supplied) in County Longford.More Button

Since early 2015, my Department has supported intensive engagement with Pobal and Longford County Childcare Committee to maintain childcare provision in the service in question. Unfortunately, fol...More Button

Following this closure I delegated Pobal, as agents of my Department, along with Longford County Childcare Committee, to work with local bodies in relation to McEoin Park and the re-establishment...More Button

Unfortunately, to date we have not yet been able to secure a partner to operate this service. Pobal and Longford CCC are still pursuing options locally in this regard, and I am open to receiving...More Button

Was asked: her views on whether the child care settings will be equipped to cope with the roll out of the single affordable child care scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The systems that are being developed for the Affordable Childcare Scheme are being designed so as to minimise the administrative burden on both parents and childcare providers. Full information on...More Button

Was asked: the actions she is taking to ensure that child care providers in the community setting have the resources to ensure adequate staff to maintain current capacity; and if she will make a statement on ...More Button

I recently announced that €1m of additional funding will be made available to childcare providers who have been facilitating the training of Community Employment (CE) scheme workers, to ensure that...More Button

In preparation for the implementation of the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016, Childcare Committees Ireland were commissioned by my Department to investigate the impact...More Button

This research indicated that the vast majority of services would not face financial hardship as a result of changes required under the regulations. However this did find that some services had c...More Button

As a result, I have made available up to €2,000 for services to assist with the recruitment process or to provide expert support in HR management, with additional money being provided to each ser...More Button

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 sus...More Button

All Community Childcare services around the country were afforded an opportunity to engage with the CCI project during 2016, and detailed analysis has been completed. As some services clearly ne...More Button

Was asked: if her attention has been drawn to the fact that a number of child care providers in the Cork city area may potentially not be able to continue to provide a zero to three years service due to a lac...More Button

I am aware that providing care for children below the age of three results in higher costs to services than caring for older children as a result of the legally required adult:child ratio, which is...More Button

Some services providing this care, including those in Cork City, have been impacted by the full implementation of the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016, which requires t...More Button

In order to assist services in addressing this challenge, I recently announced that €1m of additional funding will be made available to childcare providers who have been facilitating the training...More Button

In preparation for the implementation of the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016, Childcare Committees Ireland were commissioned by my Department to investigate the impact...More Button

This research indicated that the vast majority of services would not face financial hardship as a result of changes required under the regulations. However this did find that some services had c...More Button

As a result, I have made available up to €2,000 for services to assist with the recruitment process or to provide expert support in HR management, and I will make sufficient additional money avai...More Button

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 sus...More Button

All Community Childcare services around the country were afforded an opportunity to engage with the Childcare Committees Ireland project during 2016; over 200 did so, and detailed analysis has be...More Button

The new Affordable Childcare Scheme, when introduced, will provide financial support for parents towards the cost of childcare. The universal element of the Scheme will be available to all famil...More Button

Commencement of Legislation

Was asked: the progress which has been made in the commencement of the outstanding sections of the Children First Act 2015, particularly in relation to mandatory reporting of child abuse and child safeguardin...More Button

Since the Children First Act 2015 was signed into law on 19 November 2015, a number of provisions of the Act have already been commenced as follows:More Button

(i) Sections 1 to 5 (Part I) and section 28 (Part V) of the Act were commenced on 10 December 2015. Sections 1 to 5 are standard provisions in relation to title, citation, regulations, definitio...More Button

(ii) Section 18 (Part III) and Sections 20-26 (Part IV) were commenced on 1 May 2016. Section 18 of the Act is a technical amendment to ensure that the Child and Family Agency is a specified bod...More Button

As the Act imposes obligations on certain individuals working with children and on relevant service providers, it is vital that all individuals and sectors are fully prepared and ready to impleme...More Button

The phased implementation timetable will also allow Tusla to undertake the significant preparatory work required to enable it to fully meet its obligations under the legislation. This will inclu...More Button

In the meantime, my Department will continue to work closely with the Statutory Children First Inter-Departmental Implementation Group, which includes Tusla, an Garda Síochána and the HSE, who wi...More Button

Was asked: her plans in terms of training and support to ensure full implementation of the Children First Act 2015.More Button

Since the Children First Act 2015 was signed into law on 19 November 2015, a number of provisions of the Act have already been commenced as follows: Sections 1 to 5 (Part I) and section 28 (Part V)...More Button

In preparation for the commencement of the remaining provisions of the Act, my Department and Tusla are in the process of developing a suite of resources to support the full implementation of the...More Button

It is intended that this suite of resources will be launched prior to the commencement date to give persons and organisations who will acquire legal obligations under the Act sufficient time to f...More Button

Election Management System

Was asked: her views on lowering the voting age to 16 years of age in local, general and European elections. More Button

I wish to inform the Deputy that my Department has no function with regard to lowering the voting age to 16 in local, general and European elections. The lead responsibility for this matter is the...More Button

Youth Services Expenditure

Was asked: if a commitment will be made to the value for money scheme post-2017; if more resources and funding will be allocated to this initiative which is running successfully in County Cavan; her plans to ...More Button

In 2016, funding of €51m was provided to my Department for various youth schemes. I was delighted to receive an additional €5.5m in current funding in Budget 2017 to support the provision of youth...More Button

As the Deputy may be aware, a number of funding schemes supporting youth services were the subject of a Value for Money and Policy Review in 2014. The review involved an in-depth scrutiny of the...More Button

Work on the development of a new funding scheme has been prioritised by my Department and consultations with youth services are continuing with a view to introducing the new youth funding program...More Button

My Department has embarked on an exercise, in conjunction with Pobal and each Education and Training Board (ETB) Youth Officer, which will map youth service provision across the State. This mapp...More Button

During 2016, my Department provided funding for the commencement of five “Sample VFMPR” youth projects commenced in South East Cavan, West Wicklow, Drogheda, County Louth, in Cahir, County Tipper...More Button

It is my intention to support these five new projects during 2017 and details of the allocations to these projects will issue shortly. In addition, I hope to allocate further funding towards the...More Button

Child and Family Agency Payments

Was asked: if outstanding payments due to a person (details supplied) will be granted without delay.More Button

I can advise the Deputy that Tusla have confirmed that the arrears due to the person referred to were paid on 23 January 2017.More Button

Cyber Security Policy

Was asked: the actions her Department is taking to protect against cyber attacks after the NTMA website was temporarily down for several hours after a suspected hacking attack; and if she will make a statemen...More Button

The ICT services for my Department have a comprehensive set of information security policies, procedures and controls in place to safeguard against cyber-attacks. The Computer Security Incident Re...More Button

Child and Family Agency Staff

Was asked: the number of staff in Tusla who have been designated as child protection trainers.More Button

Tusla has advised that it currently employs 36 (32.8 whole time equivalent) Training and Development Officers to provide a range of Learning and Development programmes including child protection tr...More Button

Was asked: the number of staff in Tusla who are trained in child protection and children first guidelines.More Button

I am aware that it is Tusla policy to ensure all staff are trained in Child Protection and Children First guidelines as relevant to their role. Children First training is provided to all Tusla sta...More Button

Child and Family Agency Funding

Was asked: the position regarding the funding by Tusla for the provision of counselling services in national schools and specifically relating to a case (details supplied).More Button

I wish to inform the Deputy that I share his concerns regarding this scheme, and that I intend to meet with Tusla, the Child and Family Agency on this issue. I have been advised by Tusla that the ...More Button

Tusla recognises the necessity for bereavement and loss counselling in schools and those schools in receipt of funding under the School Completion Programme may utilise up to €5,000 of this fund...More Button

Tusla is the main funder of Barnardos Children’s Bereavement Service, which works to support children and families coping with bereavement. Funding of €154,600 was provided to this service in 20...More Button

Youth Justice Strategy

Was asked: her views on the high number of young persons held on remand here which, according to her Department, reached 263 in 2015 and of whom 93 received detention orders; the measures her Department is ta...More Button

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, appro...More Button

Under Section 88 of the Children Act 2001, a court may remand a child in custody who is charged with or found guilty of an offence, who is being sent forward for trial, or in respect of whom the ...More Button

As part of the Youth Justice Action Plan 2014-2018, a key commitment was the development of a Bail Supervision Scheme. The scheme, which is currently operating on a pilot basis, provides more th...More Button

It should be noted that in 2015, of the 263 orders to remand, these related to 163 children. Furthermore, of the 93 orders issued by Courts to detain children in Oberstown, these related to 87 c...More Button

School Expulsions

Was asked: the number of post-primary expulsions by school in County Louth in 2014-15 and in 2015-16.More Button

Was asked: the total number of post-primary expulsions in County Louth in 2014-15 and in 2015-16More Button

Was asked: the number of post-primary notices of intention to expel, by school, in County Louth for 2016-17.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 676 to 678, inclusive, together.

  The following tables outline the school based expulsions by individual school and in total for County Louth fo...More Button

Foreign Adoptions

Was asked: the documentation that must be supplied in order that the adoption of a child from Morocco be recognised here.More Button

Was asked: if the State has recognised any foreign kafala adoptions here; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the process that a person (details supplied) must go through to have the kafala adoption of their child from Morocco, that is legally recognised in that jurisdiction, recognised within this State.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 679 to 681, inclusive, together.

  The Adoption Authority of Ireland (the Authority) has responsibility for determining whether an adoption may b...More Button

Early Childhood Care and Education

Was asked: if, with regard to eligibility for the second ECCE year, an application can be considered in respect of a child whose date of birth falls marginally outside the qualifying date but certain extenuat...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, the Early Childhood and Education Programme (ECCE) programme was expanded from September 2016 so that children may start free pre-school from age three, and can continu...More Button

Three different points in the year - September, January and April – are in place to maximise access for these children within the overall eligibility parameters.More Button

An upper age limit in free pre-school was set by the Inter-Departmental Group on Future Investment on the advice of the Department of Education and skills. Limiting the diversity in age ranges i...More Button

Parents may request an exemption from ECCE eligibility criteria under limited circumstances from the Department; specifically where a diagnosed special need exists. However, this must be suppor...More Button

Child Care Costs

Was asked: the maximum subsidy a person would receive under the new affordable child care scheme 2017 in circumstances (details supplied).More Button

Was asked: the maximum subsidy a person would receive under the new affordable child care scheme 2017 in circumstances (details supplied).More Button

Was asked: the maximum subsidy a person would receive under the new affordable child care scheme 2017 in circumstances (details supplied).More Button

Was asked: the maximum subsidy a person would receive under the new affordable child care scheme 2017 in circumstances (details supplied).More Button

Was asked: the maximum subsidy a person would receive under the new affordable child care scheme 2017 in circumstances (details supplied).More Button

Was asked: the maximum subsidy persons would receive under the new affordable child care scheme 2017 in circumstances (details supplied).More Button

Was asked: the maximum subsidy persons would receive under the new affordable child care scheme 2017 in circumstances (details supplied).More Button

Was asked: the maximum subsidy persons would receive under the new affordable child care scheme 2017 in circumstances (details supplied).More Button

Was asked: the maximum subsidy persons would receive under the new affordable child care scheme 2017 in circumstances (details supplied).More Button

Was asked: the maximum subsidy persons would receive under the new affordable child care scheme 2017 in circumstances (details supplied).More Button

Was asked: the maximum subsidy a person would receive under the new affordable child care scheme 2017 in circumstances (details supplied).More Button

Was asked: the maximum subsidy a person would receive under the new affordable child care scheme 2017 in circumstances (details supplied).More Button

Was asked: the maximum subsidy persons would receive under the new affordable child care scheme 2017 in circumstances (details supplied).More Button

Was asked: the maximum subsidy persons would receive under the new affordable child care scheme 2017 in circumstances (details supplied).More Button

Was asked: the maximum subsidy persons would receive under the new affordable child care scheme 2017 in circumstances(details supplied).More Button

Was asked: the maximum subsidy persons would receive under the new affordable child care scheme 2017 in circumstances (details supplied).More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 683 to 698, inclusive, together.

  The universal element of the Scheme will be available to all families with children between the age of six mon...More Button

Education Welfare Service

Was asked: arising from reports her Department may have received from school authorities throughout the country appertaining to the health and welfare of children, her plans to take any particular or specific...More Button

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 re...More Button

Tusla EWS operates three specific programmes. The Home School Community Liaison Scheme (HSCL) provided to 400 DEIS schools to facilitate positive relationships between parents and their children...More Button

When a formal referral is made action taken then falls into two distinct categories. The first is a brief intervention (provided to 3,751 pupils in 2015/2016 school year) whereby low level inter...More Button

When brief interventions fail to address the presenting problem Tusla EWS open case files. In the school year 2015/2016 Tusla EWS worked 6,920 such cases. Problems of poor school attendance that...More Button

Counselling Services Provision

Was asked: the extent to which she envisages improved counselling services for children at risk and their families; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, provides funding to voluntary organisations offering a range of counselling and support services to children and families including:

  - Marri...More Button

Juvenile Offenders

Was asked: the extent to which adequate accommodation remains available or is likely to become available in respect of juvenile offenders with particular reference to future and current needs; and if she will...More Button

Currently, Oberstown Children Detention Campus (Oberstown) is licensed to provide up to 54 places for young people ordered to be remanded in custody or committed to serve a sentence of detention by...More Button

Oberstown operates a twenty four hour bed management service for children detention places, with the aim of having the maximum degree of coordination in this area. This service is available at a...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which her Department continues to engage with juvenile offenders with a view to providing rehabilitative or educational supports; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

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...More Button

My Department provides funding to the Irish Youth Justice Service for services relating to the Oberstown Children Detention Campus and the Bail Supervision Scheme which has recently been establis...More Button

As part of the Youth Justice Action Plan 2014-2018, a key commitment was the development of a Bail Supervision Scheme. The scheme, which is currently operating on a pilot basis, provides more th...More Button

If a child is remanded or sentenced to a period of detention in the children detention schools, a range of rehabilitative supports is offered to every child as part of an overall programme, which...More Button

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...More Button

The Family and Community Services Resource Centre Programme (FRC Programme), which is operated by Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, provides supports to 109 communities. Tusla has provided cor...More Button

In addition, the Educational Welfare Services of Tusla operating under the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000, work together collaboratively and cohesively with schools and other relevant services to ...More Button

Children in Care

Was asked: the total number of children currently in residential or foster care; the extent to which adequate resources remain available to meet the demand in both circumstances; and if she will make a statem...More Button

The latest figures from Tusla, indicates that, at the end of November 2016, there were 6,276 children in care. Of these, 5,839 (93%) were in foster care, either with relatives or a general foster ...More Button

Mental Health Policy

Was asked: the extent to which she and her Department have studied the issue of depression in young persons with particular reference to the identification of early alert and-or subsequent support; and if she...More Button

Growing Up in Ireland, The National Longitudinal Study of Children in Ireland, which is almost wholly sponsored by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, collects some data broadly related t...More Button