I would like to inform the Deputy that there are three agencies which are currently funded by the Exchequer through my Department's Vote. These are the Adoption Authority of Ireland, the Child and Family Agency and the Ombudsman for Children's Office.
Up to 31 December, 2013, my Department also funded the Family Support Agency and the National Educational Welfare Board. The new Child and Family Agency which was established on 1 January 2014 now has responsibility for the provision of these services along with children and family services previously delivered by the HSE.
The coming together under one Agency of services previously delivered across three separate organisations provides a platform for the delivery of a more efficient and effective service to vulnerable children and families. The range of responsibilities under the remit of the Agency will contribute to achievement of the overall vision for the Agency which is seeking to bring about greater integration of services with a focus on early intervention and community engagement.
In July 2011, the Government decided that the Family Mediation Service should transfer from the Family Support Agency to the Legal Aid Board. This is in line with the Government’s commitment to facilitate the use of mediation in family disputes in order to speed up the legal process, reduce costs and ameliorate the stress of contested court proceedings. On 26 October 2011, the Minister for Justice and Equality signed the commencement order for Part 16 of the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011 which gave effect to the transfer from 1 November 2011.
At this stage it is not possible to quantify the actual savings to date as a direct result of these developments.
It should be noted that following enactment of the Child Care Amendment Act 2011 the Children's Act Advisory Board was subsequently dissolved by means of the commencement by the Minister of Health of Part 6 of the Child Amendment Act 2011.