My Department is implementing the new Area-Based Response to Child Poverty programme which was announced as part of Budget 2013. The programme is being co-funded by philanthropic partners and is expected to have a total funding allocation of up to €29.7 million. The programme is being introduced on foot of the Programme for Government commitment to adopt an area-based approach to child poverty, drawing on best international practice and existing services to break the cycle of child poverty where it is most deeply entrenched and improve the outcomes for children and young people. The programme will build on and continue much of the work of the Prevention and Early Intervention Programme (PEIP) which was also implemented by my Department and co-funded by the Atlantic Philanthropies.
The three existing PEIP sites and a number of additional sites are expected to participate in the new programme. In addition, it is my intention to broaden the impact of the programme by beginning the process of mainstreaming some of the evidence-based programmes which have been positively evaluated and are cost-effective. The establishment of my Department's Child and Family Agency in the coming months will be important to this process.
Applications to participate in the programme were invited from interested not for profit consortia earlier this year. The closing date for receipt of applications was 31st May and fifty applications were received. The immediate priority was to transition appropriate activities funded under PEIP into the new initiative, and this has been progressed as a matter of urgency. Last July the Government approved the transition of the three sites which participated in the PEIP into the new Area Based Approach to Child Poverty programme. My Department is seeking to finalize contracts with the PEIP sites in the near future.
The remaining applications have been reviewed by a Working Group led by my Department, using criteria set out in the application process. An Interdepartmental Project Team, chaired by my Department, will consider these applications, and make proposals to Government later this month for funding under Phase 1 of the initiative.