Written Answers. - Community Care.

John Perry


553 Mr. Perry asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he has received an application from Lifestart Family Centre, Sligo to provide 21 child care places; if he will ensure that the centre is allocated the necessary funding to continue its child care, family visitation service, Traveller programme, outreach programme, cross-Border programme and programmes for parents and children; the steps he has taken to have financial assistance provided for the continuation of these programmes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8010/01]

Schemes for capital and staffing grants for community – not for profit – group(s) are part of the Government child care funding initiatives administered under my Department's Equal Opportunities Child Care Programme 2000-2006.

With regard to the application in question, I have been informed by my Department's equal opportunities child care section that a completed application form for a staffing grant from Lifestart Family Centre, Sligo was received on 14 February 2001. I understand this application was forwarded to Area Development Management Limited on 19 February 2001. A technical assessment of this application will be carried out by ADM Limited prior to referral to the programme appraisal committee.

A number of factors are considered in assessing applications including the location of the service, the extent to which it will enhance child care provision in disadvantaged areas, the extent to which the project will increase the number of places and the extent to which the service will facilitate parents in accessing training, education and employment. In the case of staffing grants for community based-not for profit groups, funding is provided to projects only in relation to the employment of workers dealing directly with children, within the child care facility.
Once the assessment and appraisal process is complete, I will make a decision shortly thereafter. In the interim, it would be premature of me to comment further on this staffing application by the centre.
To date I have approved grants under the equal opportunities child care programme with a total value of over £40 million towards the development of child care provision nationwide as well as the provision of supports for the national voluntary child care organisations. This funding will support almost 11,400 child care places including the creation of more than 4,800 new child care places. This represents the most significant investment in child care by any Government in the history of the State and is supporting measures that will have both a social inclusion and equal opportunities focus.