Thursday, 13 June 2019

Questions (214)

Willie O'Dea


214. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if her Department provides supports, financial or otherwise, to carers under 18 years of age; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24709/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Government acknowledges the crucial role that family carers play and is fully committed to supporting carers in that role through a range of supports and services.  This commitment is recognised in both the Programme for Government and the National Carers’ Strategy.

The main income supports to carers provided by my Department are Carer’s Allowance, Carer’s Benefit and the Carer’s Support Grant.  A principal condition for the receipt of these income supports is that the carer is in a position to provide full-time care and attention to a person in need of such full-time care.  A person must be at least 18 years of age to apply for Carer's Allowance.  It should be noted, however, that Carer’s Benefit and the Carer's Support Grant may be applied for from the age of 16 years.  A carer under 18 may also apply for Domiciliary Care Allowance in respect of caring for a child who meets the conditions of that scheme.

Apart from the income supports available, last December I also approved funding of €1.763 million to provide a range of training and supports for family carers for 13 projects under the Dormant Accounts Action Plan 2018.  The funded projects provide structured training, information and support networks under the theme of personal and social development for family carers, including young carers.

In order to stay informed of, and assess, priorities within the sector, my Department actively engages with carers’ representative groups.  As part of its commitments under the National Carer's Strategy, which is lead by the Department of Health, my Department hosts the Annual Carers Forum.  The most recent Forum was held in May this year and featured a dedicated discussion group on "Supports for Young Carers" and attendees included a number of individual young carers as well as carer representative groups.  Tusla - the Child and Family Agency who co-facilitated this group along with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, also offer a number of family and support services for young carers nationwide including the Family Support and Meitheal programmes.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.