I am setting out below the detailed information requested by the Deputy which has come to hand from the Eastern Regional Health Authority and the health boards. Since mid-1997 over €171.45 million, £135 million, additional revenue funding has been invested through the health boards in the development of the child welfare and protection services. This has provided for a wide range of developments, including family support projects, preventive services and intensive community based services.
Among such projects is the Edge project, a community based service in County Mayo which is specifically for young people who may otherwise require specialised residential care. The Extern organisation also provides a range of services for several health boards, including individually tailored youth support-care programmes, at various levels of intensity to meet the needs of young people both in the community and as an adjunct to residential care service.
In the North Western Health Board region, for example, 22 children avail of the Janus programme provided by Extern which provides a range of diversionary activities, including residentials, day trips, activities, individual work and project work. The residential component of the Janus programme is delivered at the Youth Village, Roscor, County Fermanagh.
Extern also delivers a Time Out programme which provides a residential break for children aged between ten and 16 years of age who are assessed by the referring social worker as being in need of time away from their presenting circumstances. The Time Out placements take place for up to a maximum of four days and are located at the Youth Village in Fermanagh. The Time Out programme is currently delivering a service to 44 children in the North Western Health Board as well as several other children in other health board areas.
In the eastern region in the Northern Area Health Board, my colleague, the Minister of State, Deputy Brian Lenihan, recently launched the national pilot of the Youth Advocacy Programme, YAP. The purpose of the YAP pilot programme is to provide a community based service for non-offending high risk young people, particularly those with challenging behaviour and serves as an alternative to residential care. The preventative and reunification services provided will aim to reduce the number of children entering out of home placement as well as reducing the overall length of stay of children in care. The Eastern Regional Health Authority, the Northern Area Health Board, Youth Advocacy Programme Incorporated, Extern and the Department of Health and Children have collaborated closely to put this programme in place and will oversee the pilot.