Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (2582)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire


2582. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will consider providing additional funding to ensure Togher family contact centre can be used by families other than Tusla referrals but referred to the centre by the family courts in the context of the role of Tusla in family support and other contact centres. [34356/19]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

Togher Family Centre operates as an independent organisation that provides a range of services to the local community, including early years education, family support services, adult education, and early intervention youth work.

Tusla, the Child and Family Agency provided funding of approximately €170,000 to the Centre in 2017 and €202,000 in 2018.

I understand that Togher Family Centre has developed a child contact service that provides a safe, neutral, and child-focused setting for children to visit with their non-custodial parent. Togher Family Centre can arrange for supervised access through referrals from Tusla. Supported or fully supervised access is also offered, depending on the needs of the particular family.

I appreciate that the demand for child contact services may come from other sources, including family courts. Tusla's support for the child contact service in Togher Family Centre is primarily to support referrals from Tusla.

I can advise the Deputy that a working group is being established to involve officials from my Department and the Department of Justice and Equality to consider the appropriate approach to funding child contact centres. In particular, the Departments will jointly look at the Final Evaluation of the Barnardos/One Family Pilot Child Contact Centre Report. This report recommended an integrated response by both Departments to the implementation of its recommendations.