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Zappone, Katherine

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Early Childhood Care and Education Funding

Was asked: when her Department will arrange for payments to be issued to community early years child care providers in recognition of the impact on those providers of the full implementation of the Child Care...More Button

I thank the Deputy for her question. The child care regulations introduced for newly-registering preschool services on 30 June 2016, and for existing services on 31 December 2016, require all staf...More Button

As the Deputy indicated, I am aware of the issues she outlined. I have also spoken to and have had a meeting with the Minister for Social Protection on this matter. I have asked my officials to f...More Button

I completely with the Deputy in that regard. She will appreciate that my Department gave a substantial lead-in period to allow for most of the members within the child care and early education sec...More Button

Was asked: her views on devoting extra funds through the ECCE scheme to preschools located in low income areas; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Scheme provides early childhood care and education for children of pre-school age. From September 2016, children are eligible for the ECCE scheme if t...More Button

The State pays a capitation fee to participating play-schools and daycare services. In return, they provide a pre-school service free of charge to all children within the qualifying age range fo...More Button

However, as the Deputy will be aware, plans are currently in place to provide for a new national scheme of financial support for parents towards the cost of their childcare entitled the Affordabl...More Button

The new scheme will provide a system from which both universal and targeted subsidies can be provided towards the cost of childcare. In the case of targeted subsidies, these will be payable for ...More Button

It is important to note that the new Affordable Childcare Scheme will “wraparound‟ ECCE for pre-school and school-age children.More Button

With regard to the targeted subsidies the base income threshold of €22,700 in the new Scheme will guarantee that the maximum rate of subsidy is available to all families below the relative income...More Button

As well as making childcare significantly more affordable for those on lower incomes, it will support labour market participation of parents and contribute to lifting children out of poverty. More Button

Mother and Baby Homes Inquiries

Was asked: if she has considered pursuing an injunction on sites in which mother and baby homes and county homes are located; the action she will take to ensure potential sites of interest remain untampered w...More Button

It is important to appreciate that these institutions ceased operating many decades ago. The reality is that many of the buildings and sites which accommodated mother and baby homes and county hom...More Button

With regard to the former home in Tuam, we know that the site which was recently excavated by the commission is owned by Galway County Council. I have visited the site twice and it includes gree...More Button

In the first instance, the local coroner will wish to conclude his own formal processes and to decide on any further inquiries he may wish to make. While it will take some time to address all th...More Button

In the case of other relevant locations, the commission continues its work to examine the reporting of deaths and burial arrangements with regard to the 14 mother and baby homes and the identifie...More Button

Was asked: if she will publish the second interim report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes; if she, in conjunction with her Government colleagues, is considering the establishment ...More Button

I thank the Deputy for her question and am very conscious that it has not been possible to publish the second interim report so far. This is for very good reasons and I can assure the House that I...More Button

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

Was asked: when the second interim report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes will be published; the reason for the delay; if the scope of the terms of reference of the commission wi...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 30 and 35 together.More Button

The survivors and loved ones of those who were resident in the Mother and Baby Homes must be central to our consideration of this complex and very emotive issue. Like many of the Deputies in thi...More Button

Some of those I met at the site are trying to find out what happened to loved ones who were resident there. They want answers, they want the truth - and that is completely understandable. As De...More Button

Deputies will be aware from previous PQs that it has been necessary for me to engage with Cabinet colleagues on issues in the report which extend beyond my own remit as Minister for Children and ...More Button

Deputies are also asking about the terms of reference of the Mother and Baby Home Commission. I am of course aware that there have been many calls for an extension of the terms. I am committed...More Button

It would be remiss of me however not to remind Deputies that we must not lose sight of the breadth and considerable scope of the Commissions existing terms of reference. The Commission does have...More Button

Deputies, we are examining a dark period in our history - for too long only whispered about, that’s if it was acknowledged at all. The work and investigations being carried out are bringing a sp...More Button

Was asked: her views on the establishment of a truth commission relating to institutions such as mother and baby institutions, industrial schools, county homes, and Magdalen laundries; and if she will make a ...More Button

Was asked: if she will report on her discussions on revealing and establishing the truth concerning institutions such as Magdalen laundries and mother and baby institutions; the expected timeframe for a proce...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 50 and 59 together.More Button

I recognise the heightened demand for a thorough and holistic understanding of events and experiences following confirmation of the discovery of human remains on the former site of the Tuam Mothe...More Button

The function of a Commission of Investigation is to establish the facts. The three Reports of the Commission into Mother and Baby Homes which are due for completion by February 2018, namely, the...More Button

Notably, the Confidential Committee forum was specifically designed to facilitate former residents of these homes who may wish to provide accounts of their experience, and to assist the Commissio...More Button

In recent days, I have committed to exploring the potential for the application of a range of transitional justice mechanisms to acknowledge the experiences of former residents and further enhanc...More Button

Was asked: when she will publish the second interim report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes; the engagement she has had with Judge Murphy regarding expanding the scope of the comm...More Button

I am very conscious that it has not been possible to date to publish the Second Interim Report. However, as I have previously outlined, it has been necessary for me to engage with Cabinet colleagu...More Button

I am sensitive to the expectations of former residents and their advocates who wish to see the contents of this Report. My Department will contact representative groups to advise of development...More Button

In accordance with the legal framework under which the statutory Commission was established, it is my intention to consult with the Commission on this matter, and I will make further announcemen...More Button

Was asked: if she will address a matter (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As the Deputy may be aware, the Castlepollard Mother and Baby Home is one of the 14 Mother and Baby Homes included within the scope of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes. H...More Button

Mother and Baby Homes Inquiries (Continued)

I am aware that the matter touches on the motion the Deputy tabled and I have already indicated in my response to the motion that it contains a number of proposals which I am considering and which ...More Button

Regarding the specific issue of an injunction, to which the Deputy refers in the question, I am advised that such applications cannot be sought on a preventative basis and that they are temporary...More Button

I am interested in Deputy Ó Laoghaire's comments on this matter. However, I will bring my response back to his original question to me. I will take up some of the other issues later in response t...More Button

Again, regarding the question of making decisions to bring forward injunctions, the Deputy argues the Government has a responsibility to do so and that it is something we should consider. I am s...More Button

As I have previously outlined, given the wide remit of the commission's work, it has been necessary for me to engage with Cabinet colleagues on issues in the report which extend beyond my remit a...More Button

I do not believe it would be helpful today to respond to media speculation on the contents of the report in advance of the full report being made public. Publishing the report has been the focus...More Button

My Department will contact representative groups to advise of developments in this regard prior to any public announcement.More Button

I can assure Deputies that the time being taken by Government to consider this interim report is not hindering progress in the commission's ongoing investigations.More Button

My Department has an information line in operation to provide factual information in regard to the commission's remit and its reports to date. This line is open during office hours and relevant ...More Button

I know exactly what I said in the Dáil. It is a great disappointment to me that I will not be able to deliver on that by the end of this month. The extension is due to the time required to respon...More Button

I am being transparent in terms of the process. I appreciate that people would like to see it as soon as possible. I understand that as well as anyone in this Chamber because of the work that I h...More Button

Child Care Services Administration

Was asked: the status of the information technology infrastructure that will be used to deliver the single affordable child care scheme; her contingency plan if the information technology infrastructure is no...More Button

Intense preparations are under way to deliver our ambitious goal of turning our child care system from one of the most expensive in the world to the best. What we are putting in place this year wi...More Button

The Deputy is well aware, as a member of the Committee on Children and Youth Affairs, that the committee is involved in progressing the necessary legislation and there are business processes to b...More Button

We will need to integrate data from the Department of Social Protection and the Office of the Revenue Commissioners and testing of the systems will have to be rigorous. This system must work for...More Button

I do not want to put any extra unnecessary work on parents or the dedicated providers. I fully recognise that people need information. In the next few weeks, I will be in a position to provide ...More Button

I thank the Deputy for her questions. My Department is taking responsibility for the scheme and, as I have indicated, we intend within the next short while to outline our answers to all the questi...More Button

Child Care Services Administration (Continued)

I will bring that question back to my officials as part of our lengthy discussions about the various issues. I appreciate what the Deputy is saying. The focus is not only on the interim measures ...More Button

Child Care Services Staff

Was asked: the measures she is implementing as part of the new affordable child care scheme to tackle the issue of poor working conditions of the early years sector; and if she will make a statement on the ma...More Button

I accept that wages in the early years sector are unacceptably low and that working conditions are poor. This affects the quality of service offered to children. Addressing these issues is a prio...More Button

Fundamentally, the problem relates to the historically low level of public investment in early years services. In last year’s budget, I secured an increase of 35% in funding for the early years ...More Button

Within my Department several changes have been implemented to support the professionalisation of the early years sector. For example, within the early childhood care and education, ECCE, program...More Button

The affordable childcare scheme will significantly increase the level of public investment in the sector and it will create a framework for further future investment. More Button

To help support the future development of the affordable childcare scheme, as well as the ECCE programme, officials within the Department have commenced work on scoping the requirements to inform...More Button

It is great that the committee is doing this work because it provides another opportunity to hear those voices. I look forward to receiving the report because I know how committed the Deputy and h...More Button

I have also met with a range of representative bodies from the sector regarding the issue of wages and working conditions, including representatives from the Irish Municipal, Public and Civil Tra...More Button

I have established the National Collaborative Forum for the Early Years Care and Education Sector, the early years forum, to allow issues of relevance to be discussed with key stakeholders. The ...More Button

I am aware of the low wages in the sector. I am aware that the average wage is only just above the minimum wage and is below the living wage. I have done a lot of work in my political life to enc...More Button

Was asked: if she will address the need for additional supports to be extended to community child care facilities in view of the recent decision to prevent community employment workers counting towards child-...More Button

Was asked: the steps being taken to alleviate the staffing difficulties being experienced by operators of crèche and early years facilities, in particular in rural areas, arising from the June regulations; an...More Button

Was asked: if her attention has been drawn to the consequences of the new regulations from Tusla for community child care services and the impact on the services they provide, including reduction in hours of ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 40, 45 and 63 together.More Button

It is my understanding that the Deputy is referring to the the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016 which require that all staff members working directly with children in p...More Button

The requirement that staff looking after young children have a qualification has been extensively welcomed as an important quality measure. In preparation for the implementation of the Regulatio...More Button

The project indicated that the vast majority of services would not face financial hardship as a result of changes required under the regulations. However it did find that some services had come ...More Button

In order to ensure that the regulatory change does not impact on service delivery or the availability of childcare places, I recently announced that €1m of additional funding will be made availab...More Button

I have made up to €2,000 available for services initially, to assist with the recruitment process or to provide expert support in HR management. After analysis of each service's financial situat...More Button

Delivering high quality, accessible and affordable childcare is my key goal. I want to ensure that every child will be cared for by a qualified professional, and that services can sustain existi...More Button

Was asked: the additional supports that will be extended to community child care facilities following recent changes whereby community employment workers are no longer counted as part of the child-staff ratio.More Button

It is my understanding that the Deputy is referring to the the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016 which require that all staff members working directly with children in pre...More Button

The requirement that staff looking after young children have a qualification has been extensively welcomed as an important quality measure. In preparation for the implementation of the Regulatio...More Button

The project indicated that the vast majority of services would not face financial hardship as a result of changes required under the regulations. However it did find that some services had come ...More Button

In order to ensure that the regulatory change does not impact on service delivery or the availability of childcare places, I recently announced that €1m of additional funding will be made availab...More Button

I have made up to €2,000 available for services initially, to assist with the recruitment process or to provide expert support in HR management. After analysis of each service's financial situat...More Button

Delivering high quality, accessible and affordable childcare is my key goal. I want to ensure that every child will be cared for by a qualified professional, and that services can sustain existi...More Button

  Question No. 45 answered with Question No. 40.More Button

DEIS Scheme

Was asked: the impact that the recent Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools, DEIS, announcements will have on the work that is being carried out with young persons in the school completion programme; ...More Button

First, I want to welcome the publication of the Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools plan 2017. The DEIS plan aims to achieve a more robust assessment framework for identifying schools an...More Button

The educational welfare service of Tusla, officials from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the Department of Education and Skills will be meeting in the coming weeks to discuss the...More Button

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs continues to work with the educational welfare service to implement the recommendations of the Economic and Social Research Institute report on the sc...More Button

I am strongly committed to the continued support and development of the school completion programme. I believe that the new DEIS plan will play a valuable role in that regard.More Button

DEIS Scheme (Continued)

I am indicating in my answer that, as we move forward, it is not necessarily the case that DEIS and school completion will be coupled. I am saying we need to look at that again, in light of the DE...More Button

To be perfectly clear, there were no funding cuts regarding the school completion programme 2014-2015 allocation of €24.7 million. Tusla has confirmed that the funding this year is €24.756 million...More Button

Child Care Services Provision

Was asked: if she has given further consideration to concerns raised regarding the proposed single affordable child care scheme that some of the poorest families will have less access for their children to af...More Button

The affordable child care scheme will give priority to the poorest families. The highest rates of subsidy will go to families with the lowest incomes. In particular, the maximum rate of subsidy w...More Button

I want to ensure a balanced approach to eligibility: while people will qualify for a subsidy based purely on income, parents’ participation in work or training will determine the number of hours ...More Button

I believe that this is a reasonable approach. It will mean that this scheme is open, albeit for standard hours rather than enhanced hours, to parents who stay at home to care for their children ...More Button

I acknowledge that where a parent is at home and not engaged in work or study, the family will not benefit from subsidised after-school child care. However, I believe it is important that the sc...More Button

I thank both Deputies who are highlighting a number of interrelated issues. On the initial question, I referred in my answer to people who are working, in part-time work or in training versus bein...More Button

Was asked: if she will address the anomaly created under the affordable child care scheme whereby the places of children who are currently availing of essential early intervention supports under CCS and whose...More Button

The Affordable Childcare Scheme will provide progressive financial support for childcare costs, with the largest subsidies going to the families with the lowest incomes. Where a family has childca...More Button

I want to emphasise that in any situation where a current beneficiary of the Community Childcare Subvention or any other targeted childcare scheme would see their level of subsidy fall when the A...More Button

One change from the current targeted schemes is that, under the Affordable Childcare Scheme, if a parent is not engaged in any form of work, education or training, then at most 15 hours of subsid...More Button

When a parent is not in work or training, childcare will be subsidised on a standard hours basis. This approach will mean that this scheme is open - albeit for standard hours rather than enhance...More Button

There is also a small but important group of families for whom childcare is needed on child welfare grounds or for whom childcare is a necessary early intervention support, and where there is a r...More Button

Was asked: the progress made regarding a facility (details supplied) in County Longford; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: her plans to have a community child care service reopened (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 54 and 619 together.More Button

The service in question closed in February 2016 following a period of intensive support, where my Department made funding available on an exceptional basis to continue service through a crisis. ...More Button

However as yet, no stakeholder has been in a position to commit to the establishment and operation of a childcare service. As my Department cannot operate a service directly, we are not in a pos...More Button

Was asked: her plans to tackle the threat of imminent closures of community-based crèches due to high operational costs; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

My Department, Pobal and the County & City Childcare Committees (CCCs) work closely with services that experience financial difficulty. As the Deputy knows, in Budget 2017, I was pleased to secure...More Button

In addition, I have made provision for €1 million of funding to be provided to services whose sustainability is challenged by the full implementation of the Childcare Regulations 2016, particular...More Button

Given the importance of financial sustainability for the provision of quality childcare, the Programme for Government committed to conducting and publishing an independent review of the cost driv...More Button

Any service experiencing difficulties should contact Pobal or their City/County Childcare Committee who will liaise with officials in my DepartmentMore Button

Was asked: her plans to include childminders in the affordable child care scheme; and if she is satisfied that the scheme is adequate to address Ireland's disproportionate child care costs in comparison with ...More Button

The Affordable Childcare Scheme will be open to all Tusla-registered childcare providers on an equal basis. In addition to more than 4,000 centre-based childcare providers, which operate independe...More Button

In relation to the Deputy's question on addressing childcare costs, the Affordable Childcare Scheme will replace the existing targeted childcare subsidisation schemes with a single, streamlined s...More Button

The impact of the scheme on affordability depends on the subsidy rates and income thresholds set within the scheme, which reflect the level of public funding available. Budget 2017 allocated an ...More Button

The Affordable Childcare Scheme is intended to provide a robust and flexible framework for future public investment. Any future increases in the level of public investment will allow for additio...More Button

Was asked: if the new affordable child care scheme will be applicable to children in part-time child care (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Affordable Childcare Scheme will provide childcare subsidies for both full-time and part-time childcare, including after-school childcare. While the number of hours of childcare subsidised per...More Button

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

The universal element of the Scheme will be available to all families with children between the age of 6 months and 36 months (or until the child qualifies for the free pre-school programme if la...More Button

  Question No. 619 answered with Question No. 54.More Button

Child Care Services Provision (Continued)

I agree with that. It would also be my concern. As part of this debate and if we look at it in the context of the committee, we need to look at access to training and requirements in that regard ...More Button

Youth Services

Was asked: the extent to which she has regular contact with youth organisations with a view to ensuring a continuous dialogue with an emphasis on the challenges that modern society presents for young persons ...More Button

Meeting children, young people and those who campaign for their rights is the best part of my job. I engage with them every week. Last Saturday, I was delighted to join the FAI, the Shamrock Rove...More Button

I thank the Deputy for his additional question. I have met a number of national organisations, as the Deputy is aware, on my travels. When I meet the adults, I always ask if the young people can ...More Button

Without a doubt, I do. A gathering a few months ago at which some Deputies were present involved young people in the context of youth organisations and Comhairle na nÓg and discussed what they wan...More Button

Emergency Accommodation Provision

Was asked: if she will address the gap in services for persons under 18 years of age in emergency homeless services who are out of emergency accommodation between the hours of 8.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. and their...More Button

Tusla funds two emergency children's residential centres that cater for young people in need of emergency care. One such centre in Dublin city centre closes during the day. The young people are n...More Button

My Department has policy responsibility for children under 18 who present as out of home without their parent or parents or guardian or guardians but Tusla has responsibility for the provision of...More Button

Emergency Accommodation Provision (Continued)

Children aged 16 and 17 may be taken into care or, where their main need is that of accommodation, they may be provided with a service under section 5 of the Child Care Act 1991. As the Deputy kno...More Button

I appreciate the additional points and questions raised by Deputy O'Sullivan. They are good questions and I will certainly commit to getting the information identified by the Deputy. I am very cl...More Button

I certainly can promise the Deputy that, to see how we can find the information. If the Deputy has any suggestions or recommendations, maybe we can have a conversation or a meeting with my officia...More Button

I hear what the Deputy says around the issue. Whether it is an inter-agency approach or inter-services approach, many people are doing lots of different things in various contexts, and yet there...More Button

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Was asked: the status of the implementation of the access and inclusion model; her views on whether it will be sufficiently accessible to all children who are in need of extra assistance; and if she will make...More Button

I am very pleased with the progress made to date in implementing the access and inclusion model, AIM. To date, 1,820 children with a disability have benefited from the supports it provides and thi...More Button

I thank Deputy Funchion. I will bring these concerns back to my officials, particularly on the application for and acceptance onto the LINC programme. The Deputy wonders if the lottery system is ...More Button

Special Educational Needs Service Provision (Continued)

Some of those issues are being looked at by my officials but I will ask them to look at them again. It is important that we be confident that the approach in choosing is as fair as possible. I th...More Button

What a great idea. I will come back to the Deputy. I and my officials are certainly aware that it is a case of the earlier the better, particularly in respect of special needs or forms of disabil...More Button

School Completion Programme

Was asked: her views on the success of the school completion programme; her plans to expand it; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The school completion programme is a core element of the educational welfare service provided by Tusla. I believe it is a crucial service for parents, children and schools. The service is highly ...More Button

I thank the Deputy. Yes I will; it is something to which I am deeply committed. As an educator myself, I have even taught students about the issue, as well as working with many teachers and schoo...More Button

There are a number of things they are doing right now to reform the programme and to improve their annual school retention figures. They have a new governance structure that will be put in place...More Button

I will. I have actually been raising some of these issues with Tusla and, of course, they have been raised to me too in the context of schools within my constituency of Dublin South-West. That is...More Button

Was asked: when she will publish a new school completion strategy to further improve school completion rates, particularly in disadvantaged areas; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am committed to improving attendance and participation in education, especially for vulnerable children. The School Completion Strategy is a commitment in the Programme for Government and is a p...More Button

I will work closely with the Minister for Education and Skills in developing this new Strategy. In preparing it, I want to make sure that it takes full account of a number of important inputs. ...More Button

Secondly, I will take account of the new Action Plan for Educational Inclusion which is focused on securing good educational outcomes for all children, especially those at risk of educational dis...More Button

Thirdly, I want the Strategy to be built on an improved system of governance and operational management. Tusla has already taken steps in this area to strengthen the operation of the existing Sc...More Button

I want to ensure that the new School Completion Strategy meets the needs of our most disadvantaged children and that it charts a realistic, children-focused approach for the years ahead. More Button

I hope to progress the Strategy in the second half of 2017, leaving time for the inputs from the DEIS Review and the Action Plan for Educational Inclusion. I think it is important to say that th...More Button

Child Care Services

Was asked: if the IT portal that will be used to receive applications for the affordable child care scheme due to be introduced in September 2017 will be ready to both receive applications and calculate the l...More Button

Was asked: the status of the information technology system for administering the single affordable child care scheme; if it will be available for September 2017; and if not, the alternative arrangements that ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 28 and 65 together.More Button

The policy paper for the introduction of the affordable child care scheme was approved by Government in October 2016. Since then, officials of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and Po...More Button

This is an extremely complex and ambitious project because of what is involved, namely, legislation, new business processes, data protection and building a new IT system. We will need to integra...More Button

As a result of this, the fully automated system that delivers everything will not be in place initially. However, we are working intensively to ensure that a satisfactory interim measure is in p...More Button

I recognise that parents and providers urgently need detailed information about the way in which the scheme will be delivered. I can assure the Deputy that I and my officials are fully committed...More Button

I emphasise that I want us to get the IT systems right from the very beginning. I would prefer to hold back on a fully automated system initially if it means that we avoid the costly and frustra...More Button

I share the concerns Deputy Jan O'Sullivan has identified. First, we are conscious of the need to have the lowest administrative burden possible and to have a system that is not too complex and wh...More Button

Second, as we were working through these options, I said that what we need to do is to absolutely make sure the option we choose is the one we can communicate best. We got somebody in specifical...More Button

Was asked: when she will arrange for payments to issue out of the €1 million fund to community early years child care providers in recognition of the impact on those providers of the full implementation of th...More Button

I understand the Deputy is referring to the Regulations made in 2016 which require that all staff members working directly with children in pre-school services must hold at least a major award in e...More Button

I recognise the impact that this change is having on community settings – from my own experience, from a number of meetings I have had with providers and representative groups, and from the Early...More Button

In preparation for the implementation of the Regulations, my Department commissioned Childcare Committees Ireland (CCI) to investigate the impact of the new childcare regulations on community chi...More Button

The CCI work indicated that the vast majority of services would not face financial hardship as a result of changes required under the regulations. However it did find that some services had come...More Button

The sector has taken the initiative in commissioning and completing research highlighting the challenges they face, and I am aware that we need to get the funding model right for these services. ...More Button

Officials in my Department have been working with Pobal and Childcare Committees Ireland to get funding out to services impacted by the change in relation to CE scheme workers; and I understand t...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

Aftercare Services Provision

Was asked: if she has carried out or is carrying out a review of aftercare services; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am committed to implementing the Child Care (Amendment) Act 2015, which entitles eligible young people to a formal aftercare plan, prepared by Tusla in collaboration with the young person leaving...More Button

Consultation is under way with all key stakeholders in order to finalise the revision of Tusla’s aftercare policy. The consultation process has included foster carers, young people, young adults...More Button

In preparation for the commencement of the new legislation, Tusla has introduced a number of new practices. It has developed dedicated aftercare teams, standardised the financial supports that i...More Button

Aftercare Services Provision (Continued)

To give a more specific timeline, it is anticipated that the relevant provisions of the Act will be commenced in the third quarter of this year between June and September 2017. I acknowledge the D...More Button

Written Answers are published on the Oireachtas website.More Button

After-School Support Services

Was asked: the total funding available to implement the action plan for school age children; and the way in which this will deliver affordable care for children out of school hours.More Button

The Action Plan on School Age Childcare, a cross-Department report, was launched at the meeting of the Early Years Forum on Monday 6 March. The Action Plan was heavily informed by consultations wi...More Button

Most of the actions committed to in the plan do not require additional funding at this point in time but will be delivered with existing resources. For example, an immediate priority is the deve...More Button

€3 million has been provided in 2017 for major and minor capital grants to ensure sufficient access to high quality and affordable school age childcare. The new capital scheme will be open to bo...More Button

My Department has a budget of over €460m per annum to address both the affordability and quality of early years and school age childcare. Approximately 110,000 children benefit annually from the...More Button

The Affordable Childcare Scheme which I plan to introduce on a phased basis from September is a key part of the School Age Childcare Action Plan. It will provide a critical infrastructure for th...More Button

  Questions Nos. 23 to 29, inclusive, answered orally.More Button

Youth Services Funding

Was asked: her plans to restore funding to the youth services and facilities fund back to 2011 levels; 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

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 my Department is now in a position to provide further investment in youth service provision which is close to restoring the funding levels that existed prior to 2011. My Depart...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: her plans to increase funding to youth services in Dublin's north inner city in view of the recommendations of the Mulvey report on the north inner city.More Button

I welcome the report “Dublin North Inner City – Creating a Brighter Future”. The report found that there was substantial funding being provided to support youth services in the North Inner City bu...More Button

City of Dublin Youth Service Board (CDYSB) acts as my Department’s funding intermediary in the administration of targeted youth funding to Dublin North Inner City. It also provides support to 30...More Button

A number of funding schemes supporting youth services were the subject of a Value for Money and Policy Review in 2014. The review made a number of recommendations for the future operation of the...More Button

My Department is well advanced on an exercise which will map youth service provision across the State. This mapping exercise will assist my Department in developing a detailed socio-demographic ...More Button

Was asked: the amount of grant-in-aid provided to each of the national youth organisations from 2006 to 2016 under the youth services grant scheme, in tabular form; the measures she is taking to address the c...More Button

In 2017, funding of €57.4m has been provided to my Department for various youth schemes, an increase of €5.5m over 2016. The additional funding is being used for programmes that target disadvantag...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which she remains satisfied regarding the availability of adequate resources to meet the growing challenges in terms of youth support services, social services, investigative programm...More Button

The Revised Estimate for my Department for 2017 provides a gross funding provision of €1.311 billion. This represents an increase of €173 million, or 16%, over my Department’s 2016 allocation. In...More Button

Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, will receive an additional investment of €37 million in 2017. Tusla now has an annual allocation of some €713 million which allows it develop as a sustainable...More Button

In conclusion, the significant additional resources secured for 2017 will allow my Department and its agencies build on the good work by all involved in working with children and families to deli...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which she can provide adequate funding for youth services and youth development services countrywide, with particular reference to areas of social and economic deprivation; and if she...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

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

It is my intention that this mapping exercise will inform future development and investment in youth services.More Button

Youth Services Provision

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 office for County Kildare; and if she will make a s...More Button

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that my Department will provide an allocation to Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board for the provision of a full time youth officer for County Kildare...More Button

The Deputy will be aware that the provision of the full-time officer follows my engagement with public representatives, youth organisations, the Gardaí and others in Co Kildare. Indeed the Deput...More Button

It was agreed then that we would continue further engagement and on 16 November I met members of the Kildare Children and Young People's Services Committee and the Kildare Local Community Develop...More Button

My Department has has been working with a number of ETBs which have not had a full Youth Officer function in place. With this in mind, I have increased the overall allocation for this purpose na...More Button

The increased allocation is illustrative of my commitment to youth services, and I wish Kildare and Wicklow ETB well as it moves to fill this valuable post.More Button

Was asked: the steps she will take to address the youth needs in Balgaddy, which is an area of disadvantage and exclusion in Dublin mid-west; if facilities will be put in place to accommodate the needs of you...More Button

In 2017, funding of €57.4m has been provided to my Department for various youth schemes, an increase of €5.5m over 2016. The additional funding is being used for programmes that target disadvanta...More Button

The funding schemes support national and local youth work involving approximately 1,400 youth work staff working in youth work services and communities throughout the country.More Button

I am advised that the Ronanstown Youth Service, operated by Crosscare, provides a range of services to at-risk young people in Balgaddy. In 2017, an amount of €552,356 has been allocated to Rona...More Button

I am aware that the service's Balgaddy Youth Unit is temporarily closed as a result of an electrical fault and that every effort is being made to resume service provision. Dublin and Dun Laoghai...More Button

My Department is continuing to implement the recommendations of the Value for Money and Policy Review of Youth Funding Schemes. My Department is committed to having robust systems in place to id...More Button

Child Protection Services Provision

Was asked: the number of children in Tusla who have an allocated social worker; the number who do not have an allocated social worker, indicating the length of time without an allocated social worker; the cat...More Button

I have placed a high priority on addressing the number of children who are without an allocated social worker. I secured additional funding for this purpose in 2017, and Tusla is now in the second...More Button

  Question No. 35 answered with Question No. 30.More Button

Was asked: the number of children in Tusla who have a care plan; the number who do not have a care plan, indicating the length of time without a care plan; the categories of those with no care plan such as pr...More Button

The latest figures from Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, indicate that, in December 2016, there were 6,258 children in care. Of these, 5,854 (94%) had a written care plan. This is an increase ...More Button

The placement of children in care is governed by Regulations which provide, inter alia, for the welfare of the child, the care practices, care records, accommodation and safety precautions. A ca...More Button

  Question No. 63 answered with Question No. 40.More Button

Was asked: the extent to which support services can be made available to children who might be at risk as a result of being undocumented non-nationals; the extent to which particular measures are taken to pro...More Button

The Child Care Act, 1991 applies to all children resident in the State. Under the Child Care Act, 1991 and the Child and Family Agency Act 2013, Tusla has a duty to promote the welfare of children...More Button

Children First National Guidance (2011) gives advice for notifying Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, of situations where abuse is suspected. A range of professionals including teachers, nurses...More Button

If a child is taken into care, their needs are given priority. A social worker is assigned to a child placed in State care and has a duty to prepare and regularly review the care plan for the ch...More Button

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

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

Internet Safety

Was asked: the details of the measures her Department is taking to combat cyber blackmailing, cyberbullying and other forms of online abuse directed at children or carried out by children on other children; t...More Button

Online abuse in its various forms, as described by the Deputy presents serious and complex issues, exacerbated by the rate at which technology continues to develop. In its recent appearance before...More Button

Traveller Community

Was asked: the initiatives she has taken to ensure Traveller children are provided with the supports they require in view of the recent statement by An Taoiseach recognising Traveller ethnicity; and if she wi...More Button

At the outset, I want to confirm my strong support for the recognition of the Traveller Community as an ethnic group and the recent events in Dáil Éireann, led by the Taoiseach, at which it was con...More Button

Child Abuse Reports

Was asked: if there has been a full report or if she is planning to commission a report into allegations of abuse and neglect at a home (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, a major investigation into historical child abuse has already been conducted by the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse. Its remit was to inquire into the abuse of ...More Button

Former residents of all such institutions were invited to engage with that Inquiry, as its terms of reference included all care settings outside of the family home. As was noted in that Commissi...More Button

I understand that the institution to which the Deputy refers was within the scope of the Inquiry and that it was subsequently included in the list of institutions covered under the Residential in...More Button

In these circumstances, I have no plans to commission any further investigation into this former residential home for children. More Button

Juvenile Offenders

Was asked: her views on the fact that, at any one time, approximately 50% of children in the youth justice system are on remand; her further views on the concerns of youth justice advocacy groups (details sup...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

Was asked: the reason seven minors are still currently serving sentences in Wheatfield Prison in view of the Government's commitment to end the practice of detaining children in adult prisons; when these chil...More Button

I am very pleased to say that in the coming days I will announce the date on which the Oberstown Children Detention Campus (Oberstown) will commence taking 17 year old males who receive a sentence ...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which support services exist to rehabilitate, educate or upskill first-time juvenile offenders with specific reference to the need to ensure that such first-time offenders do not beco...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 (Oberstown) and the Bail Supervision Scheme which has recently b...More Button

It is intended that the Bail Supervision Scheme will provide more therapeutic supports in the community for children who are subject to bail conditions. The service will provide a ‘wraparound’ s...More Button

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

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

Residential Institutions Redress Scheme

Was asked: her plans to make recommendations to Cabinet with regard to a review of the congregational indemnity agreement, in view of the revelations concerning the mother and baby home in Tuam; and if she wi...More Button

I do not have any plans to make recommendations to Cabinet in relation the Congregational Indemnity Agreement. More Button

As the Deputy may be aware, this agreement was negotiated 15 year ago and relates to the contribution of 18 religious Orders to the cost of the Residential Institutions Redress Scheme. My collea...More Button

I will point out that the religious Order which was involved in the operation of the former Tuam Mother and Baby Home was not a party to this agreement. Furthermore, although the Commission has ...More Button

Foster Care Policy

Was asked: the status of the abolition of the 40 year age gap requirement that was previously used by Tusla as part of the assessment for suitability to foster; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am pleased to confirm that Tusla, the Child and Family Agency has recently revised its Policy, Procedures and Best Practice Guidance for Foster Care Committees. Following extensive consultation ...More Button

I can confirm that one of the issues that arose during consultation, and which has been addressed in the revised document, concerns the previous guidance in relation to the age of applicants. Th...More Button

I am informed that the chair of the working group is currently engaging with workforce learning and development and a senior member of staff from the Chief Operating Officer’s office to develop b...More Button

Children and Young People’s Policy Framework

Was asked: the extent to which she has been in a position to strategically examine and assess any specific deficiencies in respect of child care, youth support and-or development services, with particular ref...More Button

It is recognised that particular groups of children and young people can face more challenges in achieving the five national outcomes set out in Better Outcomes Brighter Futures: the Nationa...More Button

Area Based Childhood Programme

Was asked: the discussions that have taken place to ensure that the area based childhood programme can continue to support families in the most vulnerable communities; if she will continue to provide the nece...More Button

The Area Based Childhood (ABC) Programme is a joint prevention and early intervention initiative led by my Department. It was designed as a time bound co-funding arrangement in conjunction with Th...More Button

All sites are currently in contract for 2017 and operating according to their agreed budgets for 2017. Due to contractual arrangements, each of the existing 13 sites is scheduled to come to the ...More Button

My Department secured an additional €4.5million in Budget 2016 to extend all of the existing ABC Programmes to the end of December 2017, bringing the total investment to €34.2 million. This reco...More Button

To ascertain the level of funding that may be required by each site in this regard, my Department requested that the ABC Programme Managers provide the Department with revised financial projectio...More Button

ABC sites offer several programmes that run along academic year calendars. Bearing this in mind, my Department is putting in place arrangements to support sites to offer programmes to end August...More Button

This extension brings the existing programme closer in line with the expected timeline for delivery of the national evaluation report in 2018. We will utilise the learning from the programme and...More Button

I look forward to the continued engagement of all ABC sites with my department in 2017 as we work towards the implementation of quality prevention and early intervention initiatives in order to a...More Button

Foster Care Supports

Was asked: if she has considered increasing supports to foster carers; her views on whether the sector is in need of reform; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

At the end of December 2016, 82% (3,376/4,134) of foster carers had a link worker and 92% (5,374/5,817) of children in foster care had an allocated social worker. It is important to note that if a...More Button

The additional funding of €37 million which has been secured for Tusla in 2017 will provide increased resources to meet service demands which will include the recruitment of additional social wo...More Button

Tusla is currently developing a new Strategy for children in care, including foster care - which will include areas of reform. More Button

It is vital that all children in care, and their carers, receive adequate support to ensure a successful placement. Foster care is the main form of alternative care for children in need of care ...More Button

A key support to be provided to children in care include a dedicated Social Worker to ensure a care plan is put in place. This may include plans for access to family members where appropriate. ...More Button

Tusla provides funding to the Irish Foster Care Association which provides supports to carers, including training and a phone advice service. I am pleased to inform the Deputy that I am due to m...More Button

Tusla faces some challenges, however, in securing specialised foster care placements for children with a disability, behaviour problems or for older children. Tusla has an active procurement pol...More Button

Unaccompanied Minors and Separated Children

Was asked: if she will report on the progress of Ireland taking in unaccompanied minors from Calais and on the setting up of the national project office to care for these children.More Button

I am happy to report to the Deputy that, in keeping with good practice and the conditions set out in the Dáil resolution from last November, a group of 19 young people have had their needs assessed...More Button

To coordinate Tusla's role in this effort, the Calais Special Project (CSP) has now officially been launched by the Agency and is being led operationally by their separated children's team. Addi...More Button

I welcome the most recent news of the relocation of young persons to Ireland from France. I will continue to monitor the situation closely to help ensure that the whole of Government response to...More Button

Was asked: the estimated cost of supporting arriving refugee unaccompanied minors here in 2017; the number of minors to be expected; the cost per child; and the amount that has been allocated by her Departmen...More Button

I am closely monitoring the emerging situation and I am in close contact with my colleague, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform to ensure this whole of Government response to this humani...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

Our current commitments includes Ireland’s refugee programme through which we can expect to receive 20 unaccompanied minors from Greece and 40 from Calais in respect to the Dáil resolution passed...More Button

In terms of the cost per child – in a full year, residential requirements for a child can be expected to cost between €200,000-€250,000. This cost applies for all children in residential care. ...More Button

Early Childhood Care and Education

Was asked: the level of consultation between her Department and the Department of Education and Skills and-or the Department of Health on necessary supports for children with a disability who are in mainstrea...More Button

An Inter-Departmental Group (IDG) was established in June 2015 to design a model that would support access to the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Programme for children with a disability....More Button

The Report of this IDG was launched in November 2015. The IDG based its conclusions on national and international evidence and consulted with a range of key stakeholders. The IDG acknowledged t...More Button

The IDG recommended introducing a model of seven levels of support, ranging from universal to more targeted supports. The IDG concluded that such a child (and parent) centred model would build t...More Button

In line with the recommendations of the IDG, two cross-Government groups were established to drive and oversee the implementation of AIM: a Cross-Sectoral Implementation Group and a Project Team....More Button

As regards situating AIM within a National Strategy, the IDG and AIM were established in response to an action set out in Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures Access, the National Policy Framework f...More Button

Adoption Records Provision

Was asked: the steps she will take to reach out to the thousands of Irish persons illegally adopted to families in the US in order to give them access to the records containing their identities, in view of th...More Button

The Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill was published on 25th November 2016 and it provides a statutory basis for the provision of information related to both past and future adoptions. The B...More Button

Child Abuse

Was asked: if her attention has been drawn to the fact that in 2013 a Health Service Executive counsellor notified the HSE child protection services that a person had disclosed historical sexual abuse allegat...More Button

As I am sure the Deputy is aware the issue being raised is now the subject of a Tribunal of Inquiry, which is chaired by the Hon. Mr. Justice Peter Charleton. I would note that I addressed this ma...More Button

  Question No. 59 answered with Question No. 50.More Button

Was asked: the average time taken to investigate cases of children at risk of the various forms of abuse; the degree to which a systemic response is in place to deal with such issues; and if she will make a s...More Button

I wish to 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...More Button

Early Childhood Care and Education Programmes

Was asked: her plans to impose additional requirements on the programmes that receive ECCE funding to ensure that the programmes are of a high and consistent quality in view of the fact that the ECCE scheme f...More Button

I would like to inform the Deputy that important steps have been taken to enhance the quality of childcare provision including through the ECCE programme. On 4th May 2016, the Minister for Childre...More Button

Adoption Legislation

Was asked: if her attention has been drawn to the concerns raised by a group (details supplied) regarding the Adoption (Information and Tracing Bill) 2016; if she will address those concerns about the legisla...More Button

The Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill was published on 23rd November 2016. I have received a copy of Briefing Notes and Amendment prepared for by the Adoption Rights Alliance in ...More Button

  Question No. 65 answered with Question No. 28.More Button

Child Detention Centres

Was asked: the progress made on the outstanding industrial relations issues at Oberstown detention centre concerning safety of staff and detainees; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am anxious to see an early resolution to all the issues in the Oberstown Children Detention Campus (Oberstown). The safety and well-being of young people and staff in Oberstown is my primary con...More Button

The planned industrial action by staff which was due to commence at Oberstown on 3rd January was deferred on 22 December 2016. Deferment of the industrial action was secured following agreement ...More Button

Additionally Oberstown management and staff representative unions are continuing to meet under the auspices of the Workplace Relations Commission in respect of the implementation of the Forde Fra...More Button

I am determined to ensure that Oberstown is safe and secure for children and staff and I will work with all parties in this regard.More Button

Departmental Funding

Was asked: the action to be taken to fulfil the need to provide €25,000 to a project (details supplied) for counselling services; if the core funding for this project will be increased substantially to allow ...More Button

Tusla has confirmed that Kilkenny School Completion Programme (SCP) receives an annual grant of €260,172 to support the range of interventions that have been put in place to support young people ...More Button

Kilkenny SCP is currently preparing its SCP plan for the 2017/2018 school year. The plan is due to be submitted by April 21st 2017 and should reflect the planned programme of interventions agree...More Button

Budget 2017 made no provision for increases in the School Completion Programme Budget so the funding available for the 2017/2018 school year remains the same as that available for the current sch...More Button

While the School Completion Programme allows some funding to be allocated towards counselling supports where such supports are required for students being supported by the SCP programme and such ...More Button

Tusla supports and funds child counselling through the Agency’s Family Support Services funding. In 2016 funding solely for child counselling was increased under this scheme by €154,000 to €680,...More Button

Tusla is the primary funder of Barnardos Children's Bereavement Service. This funding was increased by €20,000 in 2016, total funding to the service is now €154,600. Tusla is also committed to ...More Button

Child and Family Agency Services

Was asked: the status of the ongoing discussions between Tusla, a centre (details supplied), and South Dublin County Council regarding the provision of a new child and family centre in Clondalkin, Dublin 22.More Button

My Department has been in contact with Tulsa in relation to the status of these ongoing discussions. They have confirmed that Tusla's Area Manager in Dublin South Central has advised that a meetin...More Button

Children in Care

Was asked: the number of children currently in foster care in 2017; and the number of those children under 12 years of age, between 12 and 16 years of age and between 16 and 18 years of age, in tabular form.More Button

Was asked: the number of children currently in foster care who have been diagnosed with special needs, physical or mental.More Button

Was asked: the number of children currently on waiting lists to access the services of designated social workers. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 599 to 601, inclusive, together.

  The most recent figures provided by Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, indicate that there were 6,258 childre...More Button

Was asked: the number of children currently in foster care; the number in protective residential care; the extent of the ongoing demand arising from the need to ensure the welfare and well-being of all such c...More Button

The latest figures from Tusla indicate that, at the end of December 2016, there were 6,258 children in care. Of these, 5,817 (93%) were in foster care and 316 (5%) were in residential care. Foste...More Button

All children in care should have an allocated social worker but it is important to note that if a child has not been allocated a social worker, the cases are reviewed regularly by the principal s...More Button

Tusla current has 1,467 WTE social workers and an end of 2017 target of 1,520 WTE. This target is short of the target set in Survival to Sustainability by approximately 100 WTE and reflects the ...More Button

Tusla will continue to be as proactive as possible in the market to close the social work shortfall. However, Tusla is also focusing on being able to intervene at an early stage of a family diff...More Button

Child and Family Agency Data

Was asked: the number of social workers who are currently employed with Tusla.More Button

Tusla has advised that as of the end of January 2017 the number of Social Workers employed by Tusla was 1467.45 Whole Time Equivalent.More Button

Child and Family Agency Staff

Was asked: the number of Tusla staff who have been removed from employment following reviews of children and youth services or assessment of practices since 2010.More Button

For the purposes of this reply, "removed from employment" is taken as referring to dismissal.

  The information sought by the Deputy was requested from Tusla.
<...More Button

Was asked: her views on whether all managers and senior staff at Tusla have the required capacity, skills and qualifications to do their dedicated jobs correctly; if there are areas within the organisation wh...More Button

The area of child protection and welfare social work is one of the most challenging areas of work for any professional and involves working closely with some of the most vulnerable and marginalised...More Button

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 1312 of 21 March 2017, if she will forward the request for information regarding seven suspensions of staff at Tusla to Tusla for answer or if she will request...More Button

Tusla has advised that for reasons of confidentiality, they cannot provide specific details with regards to suspension of staff. More Button

Residential Institutions Redress Scheme Eligibility

Was asked: the reason survivors of an institution (details supplied) were not considered eligible for compensation under the 2002 redress scheme; if an alternative redress scheme for these persons is being co...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, my colleague the Minister for Education and Skills is responsible for the 2002 Residential Institutions Redress Act. However, I understand that when the Ryan Report wa...More Button

Bethany Home is one of the 14 Mother and Baby Homes included within the scope of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes. Its terms of reference require the Commission to exam...More Button

Education Welfare Service

Was asked: her plans to take any particular or specific measure to combat issues arising from reports her Department may have received from school authorities throughout the country and particularly in counti...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

The EWS operates specific programmes supporting children, parents and their schools. The Home School Community Liaison Scheme (HSCL) provided to 400 DEIS schools to facilitate positive relations...More Button

The EWS has also advised that any concerns about children and families referred to Tusla from school authorities in Sligo /Leitrim /West Cavan are assessed to determine the needs of the children ...More Button

Was asked: the detail of the new threshold for Tusla staff with regard to beginning investigations into complaints made regarding schoolchildren by concerned parents or teachers; and if she will make a statem...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

The EWS has advised that it is unaware of any new threshold with regard to beginning investigations into complaints made regarding school children by concerned parents or teachers. The EWS acts ...More Button

Child and Family Agency

Was asked: the status of the provision of the new Tusla buildings in Carrick-on-Shannon; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Tusla has advised that it is committed to the leasing of new modern office space at Shannonside Retail Park in Carrick-on-Shannon. As previously highlighted, these new premises will provide easy a...More Button

Was asked: the reason a company (details supplied) is waiting payment for services provided; and if that payment will be made without delay.More Button

As the matter in question relates to a contractual matter, I have referred the question for direct response by Tusla to the Deputy.More Button

Protected Disclosures Data

Was asked: the process within her Department for dealing with protected disclosures under the 2014 Act; if the examinations of such disclosures are carried out by an independent authority or persons other tha...More Button

My Department is committed to fostering an appropriate environment for dealing with protected disclosures under the 2014 Act. In this regard, my Department has adopted the guidelines provided by t...More Button

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

In relation to the management of cases, I want to assure the Deputy that my Department is committed to responding to each case that has been deemed to be a protected disclosure and if it is consi...More Button

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

Insurance Costs

Was asked: the cost of insurance under different insurance headings such as public liability, buildings cover, employer liability and so on for her Department and each body under its aegis; the name of the in...More Button

My Department does not have conventional insurance cover and operates under a State indemnity, a self insurance model whereby the State bears the financial risks associated with the cost of claims. More Button

The State indemnity is operated by the National Treasury Management Agency who acts as the State Claims Agency. All my Department's claims are delegated for management to this agency. This Stat...More Button

Preschool Services

Was asked: the reason a person (details supplied) has been refused AIM level 7; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Access and Inclusion Model (AIM), which is a new programme of supports to enable children with a disability to access and fully participate in the free pre-school programme, is administered by ...More Button

My Department has made enquiries of Pobal in relation to this query and it is understood that an application was received for support - additional assistance in the pre-school room - under Level ...More Button

Following a feedback phone call with a member of the Pobal team, a review request was submitted by the applicant. This review application and information submitted with it were all reviewed in l...More Button

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

Youth Cafés Expenditure

Was asked: the avenues of funding available for the running of youth cafés; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In recent years capital funding has been made available to my Department for the development of youth café facilities. Youth Cafés offer young people a safe, alcohol and drug free space, for recre...More Button

My Department does not provide current funding to organisations such as the Funky Fish Youth Café, referred to in the Deputy's question. I am advised that the Funky Fish Youth Café was allocated...More Button

In 2017, almost €1.2m has been allocated to this scheme, a 10% increase over 2016. The scheme, which is open to new entrants, will be advertised locally and applications for funding are invited ...More Button

Child Protection

Was asked: the extent to which she continues to improve the services available for the protection of children in the home, in foster care or in statutory residential care; if sufficient resources continue to ...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which she has available to her adequate placement facilities for children at risk or deemed to be at risk; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the extent to which she has sufficient resources available to her Department to meet the anticipated demands of children at risk; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 623, 624 and 627 together. More Button

Children First National Guidance (2011) gives advice for notifying Tusla of situations where abuse is suspected. A range of professionals including teachers, nurses, early years educators, Garda...More Button

Under the Child Care Act, 1991 and the Child and Family Agency Act 2013, Tusla has a duty to promote the welfare of children who are not receiving adequate care or protection. When a child canno...More Button

Tusla has Foster Care Committees in place across the country and regularly seeks to recruit more foster carers. In addition, Tusla procures and develops residential accommodation to deliver on i...More Button

Each referral received by the Agency is assessed and dealt with on an individual basis by the duty social work team. It is of note that, at the end of Quarter 3, 2016, Tusla reported that approx...More Button

Tusla provides me with information on a monthly and quarterly basis outlining the increasing demands for their services, and how they are dealing with children awaiting services. This informatio...More Button

This valuable and detailed information continues to inform the Department and Tusla in the business planning needed to maintain and further enhance the range of services for the care and protecti...More Button

Departmental Functions

Was asked: the extent to which the investigative structures within her Department are deemed adequate to meet current and future requirements as evaluated by reference to the time taken to respond to individu...More Button

The nature of my Department's work is significantly oriented towards policy development and co-ordination of actions across agencies, rather than dealing with individual cases. Accordingly my Depa...More Button

Homeless Persons Supports

Was asked: the extent to which she has access to the necessary information to address the needs of children of homeless families; if particular referrals or recommendations are received in her Department from...More Button

As part of a whole-Government approach to homelessness, my Department is working closely with Tusla to provide supports for families in emergency accommodation in order to mitigate the challenges f...More Button

As the Deputy will know, Tusla has agreed a joint protocol with the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE). This covers child welfare protection matters for children in emergency accommodatio...More Button

It is important to note that the State only intervenes in family life in exceptional cases. Children who are with their families in emergency accommodation remain in the care of their parent or ...More Button

Tusla is providing additional supports to assist families in emergency accommodation. It funds child support workers for this purpose and has also appointed a Homelessness Liaison Officer. My o...More Button

In recognition of the difficulties associated with homelessness and school attendance the Educational Welfare Office (EWO) offers a number of supports to children and their families. The DRHE ha...More Button

It is of the utmost importance that we minimise the impact of homelessness on children and offer families comprehensive supportive measures, while ultimately working toward eradicating homelessne...More Button