Child Detention Centres

Questions (28)

Clare Daly

Question:

28. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if her attention has been drawn to the fact that 31 boys have been charged for criminal damage at a campus (details supplied) in 14 separate incidents in a two-year period between 2016 and 2018; and her views on this high number. [22240/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

The Deputy will be aware that under Irish Law, criminal investigations can only be carried out by An Garda Síochána who then submit a report to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).  The DPP, who operates independently, then decides whether or not someone should be prosecuted and for what crime.  While Oberstown has procedures in place for notification of incidents to my Department, I am advised by Oberstown that it does not have access to the details of any follow up charges that relate to an incident.

School Completion Programme

Questions (29)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

29. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the status of the school completion programme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22243/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

I am very conscious that the School Completion Programme (SCP) continues to deliver a valuable service for some of our most vulnerable young people. Currently, the SCP receives annual funding of 24.7million.

My Department works with the Educational Welfare Service (EWS) to ensure that necessary resources are available to support this programme and to ensure staffing levels are sufficient to deliver a high quality service for those young people most at risk of early school leaving. However a number of long term complex issues continue to exist in relation to both the governance and the staffing of the programme.

In this regard and in recognition of the need for a strong policy platform for educational welfare services, including the SCP, I requested my officials establish a Task Group to support the further development and integration of these services. The work of this group is near completion and I am eager to ensure that output will result in a clear blueprint for the development of the three strands of the EWS, including the SCP.

A consultation event on the blueprint will be held on June 10th where those working with vulnerable young people as part of the EWS will have an opportunity to express their views and help shape the policy blueprint prior to its publication.

As part of the implementation of the actions contained in the blueprint I have requested that a new SCP scheme be scoped out and developed to ensure that its reach, resources and impact are maximised in supporting young people and I will also continue to examine options in relation to the employment status of SCP Coordinators and Project workers.

Youth Services Provision

Questions (30)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

30. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the extent to which adequate supports remain available to children and teenagers who for one reason or another find themselves isolated from their peers; the extent to which this continues to be available to offer support in such circumstances; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22252/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

Both I, and my Department, are committed to ensuring that every young person in Ireland has access to the transformational power that participating in youth services can bring, and to that end we have invested €63.6M in current and capital funding in clubs, services and young people 2019. €35.18 million of which is for the Targeted Youth Funding Scheme. 

The overall mission of the Targeted Youth Funding Scheme is to provide out of school supports to young people in their local communities to enable them to overcome adverse circumstances and achieve their full potential by strengthening their personal and social competencies. Young people aged 10 to 24 years of age who are described in the National Youth Strategy as marginalised, disadvantaged or vulnerable will be the primary target group for services available through the new scheme.

A further €11m is allocated to 30 national and major regional voluntary organisations through the Youth Service Grant Scheme. Among the recipients of the Youth Service Grant Scheme is SpunOut.ie which provides a youth information website created by young people, for young people. SpunOut.ie provides a space for young people to have their voices heard and to share their life experiences with other young people. I understand that their reach is more than 140,000 active readers each month.

In addition to this, 21 Youth Information Centres have been allocated €1.4m in 2019 to continue to provide young people with access to information on rights, opportunities, health, welfare and other matters.

Youth Services Funding

Questions (31)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

31. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the details of future investment in youth supports and infrastructure; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22691/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

The overall budget allocation for the youth sector in 2019 is € 60.4m in current funding.  This represents an additional €1.5m over 2018; an increase of €8.5m in the youth funding provided in 2016. The level of funding supports the delivery of a range of youth work programmes and services for all young people, including those from disadvantaged communities, by the youth work sector.  The additional funding will be used to support programmes in areas where there are disadvantaged young people and where there is a pressing need for targeted services to meet the needs of young people.

As the Deputy is aware my Department is managing the most significant reform of youth services ever undertaken. This reform will provide an opportunity to identify need and to focus funding on young people most in need of intervention.  Future development and investment in youth services will be informed by the mapping exercise completed in 2017, which mapped youth service provision across the State. This mapping will assist the Department and the relevant ETB in developing a detailed social demographic profile in terms of both population numbers and deprivation levels.  My Department is committed to working with ETBs to identify need and explore ways to address this need where it emerges.

The provision of additional funding to my Department to support the provision of youth services and infrastructure is a matter for consideration in the context of the annual Estimates and Budgetary process and having regard to the resources available to the Government.

Mother and Baby Homes Inquiries

Question No. 33 answered with Question No. 13.

Questions (32)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

32. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her plans to refer the final report of the commission of investigation into mother and baby institutions to An Garda Síochána; if her officials are liaising with officials in the Department of Justice and Equality on the matter; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21737/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

The Commission of Investigation (Mother and Baby Homes and certain related Matters) was established to facilitate a purely fact finding investigation into matters of significant public concern. The Commission is due to deliver its final report in February 2020 and it is important not to pre-empt the outcome of the Commission's work.

While the Commission is not structured to adjudicate on individual behaviours, nor impose penalties, if its final report reveals issues which are potentially criminal in nature it will of course be referred to the appropriate investigative and prosecution authorities.

Subject to the advice of the Attorney General and Government approval, the report will be published and publicly available for consideration by all relevant authorities. 

In the interim, any person with a complaint or allegation of a potentially criminal nature should make a report directly to An Garda Síochána. It is not necessary to await the completion of the Commission's work before doing so.

Question No. 33 answered with Question No. 13.

Child Protection

Questions (34)

Catherine Connolly

Question:

34. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her plans to establish further child and adolescent sexual assault treatment services units in addition to the unit located in County Galway; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22254/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

I thank the Deputy for her question, which I take it is referring to the planned Barnahus/One House service for child victims of sexual abuse.

As the Deputy notes the plan is that the pilot service will open this year in Galway.  A key aspect of the pilot is to establish the governance arrangements where three agencies, Tusla, the HSE and An Garda Síochána work together to provide the services needed by child victims of sexual assault in a child centred way, that supports them and their families. The interdepartmental group,  established to provide oversight of the development of this service, will, in conjunction with those working in the pilot site, agree on  the optimal number and location of centres.   

The One House project is informed by international best practice, and is based on the Icelandic Barnahus model. The model brings together the forensic, protection, health, therapeutic and policing services in a child centred way in order to minimise as far as possible any additional trauma for the child and their family. 

This new approach is aimed at ensuring children are not re-traumatised by having to recount the details of their ordeal a number of times to different people.

Child Poverty

Questions (35)

Denise Mitchell

Question:

35. Deputy Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the efforts her Department and others are taking to tackle child poverty; if child specific targets will be met under the national social target for poverty reduction; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22201/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

Under the Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures National Policy Framework (2014 – 2020) my Department, in collaboration with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and other Departments, is taking a whole-of-government approach to tackling child poverty.

A considerable amount has been achieved through this cross government working and through the Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures implementation structures such as the National Advisory Council.  

I and officials in my Department are working closely with the Council in identifying the most impactful approaches to be considered in addressing child poverty, and I am currently considering the outcomes from this process.  

Effective measures have being introduced by the Government in the last three budgets.  The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection specifically provides income support for families, spending in excess of €3 billion in 2018 through child-related supports, including: the Working Family Payment, Increases for a Qualified Child (to primary social welfare payments), the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance and Child Benefit.

Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures includes a target to reduce, by two thirds the number of child living in consistent poverty by 2020. Good progress is being made. The latest data from the 2017 Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) shows a significant reduction in the consistent poverty rate for children over 2016, which decreased from 10.9% to 8.8%, a reduction of just over 2 percentage points (25,000 children), the second highest reduction in the rate since the collection of SILC data began in 2004. 

The forthcoming National Childcare Scheme, under my Department, will mean the first ever statutory entitlement to financial support for childcare. The scheme aims to improve children’s outcomes, support lifelong learning, and reduce the cost of quality childcare for families across Ireland and to help reduce child poverty.

The next National Action Plan on Poverty and Social Inclusion (2019 – 2025) currently being finalised by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Inclusion, is due to be published shortly. This will assemble in one place the range of policy measures across Government Departments that are designed to address different aspects of poverty and social inclusion, including child poverty.  This Plan will keep child poverty firmly on the radar of Government and will help keep the momentum moving forward.

I have written to the Taoiseach asking that as we prepare for the Action Plan that the issue of child poverty is discussed at the heart of Government – involving every Minister, every Department as well as the agencies they work with.

Family Resource Centres

Questions (36)

Robert Troy

Question:

36. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if her attention has been drawn to the considerable staffing shortages that exist within family resource centres, particularly those in counties Longford and Westmeath; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22688/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

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.

Intellectual Property Management

Questions (37)

Mary Butler

Question:

37. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Taoiseach the value which the development of intellectual property contributed to the economy in 2018. [22525/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Taoiseach)

The contribution of research and development to capital formation is given in the following table for 2012 to 2018. The total R&D is made up of domestically produced R&D as well as the imports and exports of Intellectual Property and R&D services. Total R&D less net R&D imports provides an estimate of the contribution of domestically produced R&D to the economy.

Please note that the 2012 to 2017 figures come from the annual National Income and Expenditure release of 2018 while the 2018 figures are the sum of the figures from the Quarterly National Accounts for the four quarters of 2018. All of these figures are subject to revision in the upcoming annual National Income and Expenditure release of 2019.

Research & Development in Capital Formation

€ millions

Year

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

Total R&D

9,574

8,083

9,944

30,553

58,137

26,810

25,221

Net R&D Imports

7,240

4,899

6,427

26,345

54,074

21,925

20,918

R&D less net R&D Imports

2,334

3,184

3,517

4,208

4,063

4,885

4,303