Tusla, the Child and Family Agency administers the Family Resource Centre Programme, which supports 121 Family Resource Centres (FRCs) throughout the country. FRCs provide a holistic service of child, family and community support and advocacy to all children and families in their community. Tusla provides financial support to FRCs to fund the salaries of a certain number of staff and to cover some overheads.
I am happy to have negotiated an additional €4.5m in funding for the Family Resource Centre Programme between 2018 and 2019. This allowed for increases in core funding for each centre, as well as the establishment of 11 new Family Resource Centres which are now fully operational.
FRCs are independent organisations and are managed by a Voluntary Board of Management which is representative of the local community. Each individual FRC is responsible for the recruitment of its employees and the terms and conditions under which they are employed.
I have been made aware of service pressures in some FRCs throughout the country. I have met with representatives of a number of FRCs, including centres in the counties to which the Deputy refers. I have also received representations from and on behalf of individual FRCs and their representative body, the Family Resource Centre National Forum (FRCNF) in relation to funding and their wish to increase staffing levels.
Tusla engages directly with FRCs, and the FRCNF, with regard to service pressures. Tusla has advised me that it has also been made aware of requests from certain FRCs for additional funding to increase staffing levels.
I highly value the Family Resource Centre Programme, and was pleased to secure an additional €1.5 million in funding for the Programme this year. As the Deputy may be aware, I recently announced that this additional funding will be used to:
- Increase core funding to each of the 110 Family Resource Centres which existed pre-2018 by 5%.
- Employ an additional 17 Family Support Workers, where one Family Resource Centre in each of the 17 Tusla geographical areas will receive funding to employ a Family Support Worker.
- Fund the Family Resource Centre Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Promotion Programme.
I recognise and value the positive impact of the work of Family Resource Centres in supporting families and local communities. I will continue to prioritise the Family Resource Centre Programme with a view to future funding as resources allow.