The Family Support Agency, under my Department, operates the Family Resource Centre Programme. The aim of the Family Resource Centre Programme is to combat disadvantage and improve the functioning of the family unit. The programme funds 107 family resource centres throughout the country. It emphasises involving local communities in tackling the problems they face, and creating successful partnerships between voluntary and statutory agencies at community level.
A key objective of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs is the improvement of outcomes for children. Family resource centres have an important role to play in harnessing local community efforts to support this objective. On 5 December 2011, the Government announced the funding levels being made available to my Department in 2012. The Family Support Agency, like all other State bodies, was asked to make savings across all the programmes which it administers. The Agency is required to achieve savings of 5% per annum on the costs of the Family Resource Centre Programme, over the years 2012 to 2014.
The Family Support Agency wrote to the family resources centres, advising them of the reduction in funding and the need to plan for change. The Agency is acutely aware of the challenges that the reduction in funding presents. It did not stipulate how centres should apply the reduction in funding, but asked the centres to focus in particular on addressing the scope for greater efficiencies to include reducing the day-to-day administration and overhead costs associated with the running of the centres. The objective of this is to continue to support, as far as possible, the services that the centres provide to local families and groups. The Agency advised the centres to engage with and seek every assistance from the two regional support agencies that provide support and training to them.
In 2012 an allocation of €26.465m has been made available to the Family Support Agency to fund its services for families. This includes funding of over €15m for the Family Resource Centre Programme.