Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Questions (607)

Jack Wall


607. Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the position regarding the family resource centre programme (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9932/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

The Government has approved the Heads of the Child and Family Support Agency Bill and has also agreed to the priority drafting of this Bill. The necessary legislative and organisational preparations are being prioritised so that the Agency can be established as soon as possible. The Agency, upon establishment, will assume full statutory responsibility for a range of child and family services currently provided by three separate agencies; namely the HSE, the Family Support Agency and the National Educational Welfare Board.

The Government's consideration of these matters was informed, by the content and recommendations of the Report of the Task Force on the Child and Family Support Agency which I published in July 2012. The Task Force considered that the Agency needs to be as broadly based as possible and should include a range of prevention, early intervention, family support and therapeutic care interventions. It is my intention that the Agency will have a role in supporting families and communities. I can assure the Deputy that the new Agency will build on the excellent work undertaken by the Family Support Agency over the last decade, and that a community based approach will form an integral part of the new Child and Family Support Agency.

Funding of over €23.5 million has been provided to the Family Support Agency (FSA) for 2013. This includes a dedicated provision of over €14 million in respect of the Family Resource Centre Programme in 2013. Under the programme some 106 Family Resource Centres will receive funding from the FSA this year. The FSA, like all other State bodies, has been asked to make savings across all the programmes which it administers. In this context the Family Resource Centres have been asked to focus, in particular, on identifying the scope for greater efficiency and for reduction in the administration and overhead costs associated with the day-to-day running of the centres.

The composition of the Board of the Child and Family Support Agency is currently under consideration. It will reflect the broad ranging nature of the Agency's responsibilities. In line with best corporate governance, the criteria for Board membership will be focused on ensuring that Board members have the requisite mix of experience and competencies needed to steer such a large organisation providing a diverse range of personal services.

The establishment of the new Agency and the wider transformation of children's services represents one of the largest, and most ambitious, areas of public sector reform embarked upon by this Government.