The Revised Estimate for Public Services 2019 makes provision for a gross funding allocation of €1.478 billion for my Department which represents an increase of just under €107 million, or 8%, over the 2018 provision.
Approximately half of the Vote is targeted towards public services that protect our children and provide for their welfare. Another significant portion is to continue our journey to build an accessible, affordable and high quality Early Learning and Care system.
Just over half of my Department’s funding is targeted at services within Tusla, the Child and Family Agency to protect our children and to provide for their welfare. Tusla will receive additional funding of €31 million in 2019 bringing its overall allocation to €785 million. In addition to this, I am making a further €3 million available to Tusla for specific developments in 2019 in relation to Family Resource Centres and Domestic, Sexual and Gender Based Violence services.
An additional €59 million is being provided for early learning and care programmes in 2019 which will bring early learning and care funding to just under €575 million. Children, parents and providers are all set to benefit. The increased resource allows me to continue to meet the growing demand for universal and targeted supports. It also enables me to widen the thresholds of the new National Childcare Scheme that I will introduce later this year
In addition to these areas, my Department’s Estimate for 2019 contains provision for almost €63.6 million for Youth Services. These resources will fund youth services throughout the country, including services for those at risk of disadvantage and help address some of the remaining challenges faced by LGBTI+ young people.
Other key areas of expenditure include €26 million for the costs of Irish Youth Justice Service, including operational costs for the Oberstown Children Detention Centre; €19 million for the operational costs of my own Department; €9.5 million for Prevention and Early Intervention Programmes (which now includes the Area Based Childhood Programme and the PPFS Programme); €7 million for the Intervention Programme for Children and Young People; €5 million for the Adoption Authority of Ireland; €4 million for the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes; and just under €3 million for the Office of the Ombudsman for Children.
I am satisfied that the significant additional resources secured for 2019 will enable my Department and its agencies build on the good work achieved to date. The extra funding continues this Government’s commitment to provide high quality services for children and young people.