The Child and Family Agency was established on 1 January, 2014. It has involved the bringing together of almost 3,800 staff from three organisations, the HSE, the Family Support Agency and the National Educational Welfare Board. The establishment of the new Agency with a budget of over €600m represents one of the most ambitious and far reaching public sector reforms undertaken by the Government.
The functions of the Agency are set out in detail in Part 2 Section 8 of the Child and Family Agency Act, 2013.
Among the key functions of the Agency are:
- To support and promote the development, welfare and protection of children, including the provision of care and protection for children in circumstances where their parents have not been able to, or are unlikely to, provide the care that a child needs;
- To support and encourage the effective functioning of families, to include the provision of preventative family support services aimed at promoting the welfare of children; care and protection for victims of domestic, sexual or gender based violence, whether in the context of the family or otherwise; and services relating to the psychological welfare of children and their families;
- To ensure that every child in the State attends school or otherwise receives an education and provide educational welfare services to support and monitor children’s attendance, participation and retention in education;
- To have regard to the best interests of the child in all matters and in performing its functions in respect of an individual child under the Child Care Act, 1991 or the Adoption Act, 2010, to regard the best interests of the child as the paramount consideration;
- To maintain and develop support services, including in local communities;
- To undertake or commission research;
- To facilitate and promote enhanced inter agency co-operation to ensure that services for children are co-ordinated and provide an integrated response to the needs of children and their families;
- To ensure robust and transparent inspection arrangements for pre-school services;
- To provide national oversight of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence services;
The work of the Agency is led by a nine person Board, headed by Ms Norah Gibbons, Chairperson. The senior executive management team is headed by Mr Gordon Jeyes, Chief Executive and is located in Dublin. It is supported by a regional and local area structure consisting of four regions and seventeen integrated service areas.
I will be happy to provide any additional detail to the Deputy should he require further information.