Early Years Sector

Questions (1711)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

1711. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of early years providers being investigated by the national panel of Tusla by county in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36634/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

Officials in my Department have requested the required information from Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. This information will be supplied to the Deputy in no later than 10 working days. I have asked my officials to follow up on this to ensure delivery as a matter of urgency.

Early Years Sector

Questions (1712)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

1712. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of inspections initiated by the early years national panel of Tusla across all service types that is sessional, full-day and half-day by county in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36635/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

Officials in my Department have requested the required information from Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. This information will be supplied to the Deputy in no later than 10 working days. I have asked my officials to follow up on this to ensure delivery as a matter of urgency.

Early Years Sector

Questions (1713)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

1713. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of inspections initiated by the early years registration panel of Tusla across all service types, that is, sessional, full-day and half-day by county in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36636/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

Officials in my Department have requested the required information from Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. This information will be supplied to the Deputy in no later than 10 working days. I have asked my officials to follow up on this to ensure delivery as a matter of urgency.

Early Years Sector

Questions (1714)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

1714. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the criteria Tusla follows when it defines an early years provider as critical on its risk register; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36637/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

Officials in my Department have requested the required information from Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. This information will be supplied to the Deputy in no later than 10 working days. I have asked my officials to follow up on this to ensure delivery as a matter of urgency.

Adoption Data

Questions (1715)

Joan Burton

Question:

1715. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of adoption records identified by her Department that may be false and-or misleading, including illegal registration of births; her plans to hold a full-scale audit of adoption records with a view to determining the number of adoption records that may be false and or misleading and including illegal registration of births; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36639/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

In February 2018 Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, informed my Department that they had discovered evidence of illegal birth registrations in files from St. Patrick's Guild Adoption Society. 148 illegal birth registrations have been confirmed, to date, although this figure may increase. The work of notifying those affected by the discovery of illegal registration in the St Patrick's Guild file is ongoing. To date, these cases are the only cases identified where a high level of certainty has been reached, that an illegal birth registration has taken place.

The Deputy will be aware that following the discovery of these illegal birth registrations, I commissioned Marion Reynolds to act as the independent chair of a sampling review into illegal birth registrations. I have received this report from the independent reviewer, and am currently awaiting legal advice on this report from the Attorney General. Decisions about examination of further records will follow the publication of this report.

Affordable Childcare Scheme

Questions (1716)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

1716. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the funding provided under the affordable childcare scheme. [36663/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

The National Childcare Scheme is a new, national scheme of financial support to help parents with the cost of quality childcare. The development of the Scheme is a significant move forward in delivering quality, accessible, affordable childcare to families throughout Ireland.

The Scheme provides a universal subsidy to all families with children under 3 years, as well as families with children over 3 years who have not yet qualified for the free pre-school programme. The universal subsidy is not means-tested and provides 50c per hour towards the cost of a registered childcare place for up to 40 hours per week.

Income-related subsidies differentiated by age of up to €5.10 per hour for babies will be available for up to 40 hours per week, for families using registered childcare. This means that maximum subsidy for a child under 1 will be €204 per week (€10,600 per annum)- a significant increase on the current maximum targeted rate of €145 per week.

The full cost of the scheme is very much dependant on parental actions as they transition from legacy schemes, and choices with regard to forms of childcare informed by the new scheme. Estimates with regard to the scheme uptake are informed by a number of factors including:

- establishing the number of families with children eligible for the scheme by income bracket (2016 data supplied by CSO),

- profiling these families by reference to the age of their children,

- estimating the proportion of children in each income bracket and age range using registered early learning and care,

- calculating estimated subsidy rates based on income levels and age profile, and

- applying estimates of the average hours used by age group for term time and non-term time.

It has previously been estimated that the first year of operation of the scheme would require €200m, much of which is available through the targeted schemes. The cost for 2020 is currently being examined in the context of the Estimates process.

The National Childcare Scheme has been designed to be flexible, with income thresholds, maximum hours and subsidy rates which can be adjusted in line with Government decisions and as more investment becomes available. As such, it establishes a sustainable platform for investment in early learning and care and school age childcare for years to come.

Social Workers Recruitment

Question No. 1718 answered with Question No. 1657.

Questions (1717)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

1717. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the estimated full-year cost of each ten additional social workers and ten additional social care workers recruited. [36664/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

I wish to advise that my Officials have asked Tusla to respond directly to the Deputy on this matter.

Question No. 1718 answered with Question No. 1657.

Adoption Authority of Ireland Data

Questions (1719)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

1719. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the discussions her Department has had with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection in relation to the Adoption Authority of Ireland and the access of Tusla to the client identity services of the Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36768/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

I became aware earlier this year that the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection had notified both Tusla and the AAI that the Client Identity Service (CIS) could no longer assist in processing data for those agencies, in the context of information and tracing, on the basis that there was no statutory basis to do so. I engaged with my colleague, Minister Doherty, in an effort to address these difficulties, and a meeting took place at official level. My understanding of the position of that Department is that the co-operation cannot be re-established until the data sharing in question is underpinned in statute. The Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill 2016 contains provisions to allow the sharing of data of third parties, for the purposes of information and tracing, and the enactment of that Bill will be the solution to the current difficulties.

I am aware of the impact of the cessation of cooperation from the CIS on current information and tracing services. I recognise that compliance with GDPR obligations is the reason that the current service has had to been discontinued, hopefully on a temporary basis, and I look forward to the service resuming when the necessary statutory safeguards are in place.

Childcare Services Staff

Questions (1720, 1721, 1722, 1723)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

1720. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of childcare workers that earn less than the living wage of €12.30 per hour; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36872/19]

View answer

Róisín Shortall

Question:

1721. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of childcare workers that receive unemployment benefit or allowance during the summer months; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36873/19]

View answer

Róisín Shortall

Question:

1722. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of childcare workers in receipt of the working family payment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36874/19]

View answer

Róisín Shortall

Question:

1723. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the average rate of pay for a graduate childcare worker; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36875/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1720 to 1723, inclusive, together.

The most recent data available on rates of pay for staff working in early learning and care services dates from mid-2018 and is drawn from Pobal's Early Years Sector Profile for 2017/18. According to this report, at that time the average rate of pay for staff working directly with children was €12.17 per hour. Those with relevant third-level degrees had wages higher than the average. The average rates of pay for graduates at that time were €13.56 for those with qualifications at Level 7 on the National Framework of Qualifications, €13.09 for those with Level 8 qualifications, and €14.59 for those with qualifications at Levels 9 or 10.

At the time that survey was carried out, the so-called "living wage" (as determined by the Living Wage Technical Group, led by the Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice) was €11.90 per hour. At that time, data from Pobal indicated that 55% of staff earned less than the "living wage". It would not be appropriate to compare wages in mid-2018 with the "living wage" determined for 2019 by the Living Wage Technical Group, as wages may have risen since mid-2018. Data from the 2019 survey of early learning and care providers is currently being analysed by Pobal and will be available in the coming months. At that point it will be possible to estimate the proportion of staff who today earn less than the 2019 "living wage" of €12.30 per hour.

I have no data available to me on the number of workers in early learning and care services that receive unemployment benefit or allowance during the summer months or the number of such workers in receipt of the working family payment. 

As the State is not the employer, my Department does not pay the wages of staff working in early learning and care settings, and I cannot therefore determine wages or working conditions in the sector. I am, however, doing all that is in my power to improve wages and working conditions. I have repeatedly called for the sector to pursue a Sectoral Employment Order, which offers a viable mechanism to establish appropriate wage levels. My Department will readily co-operate with such a process when it is under way.

In the interim, I have introduced a range of measures to support employers to improve pay and conditions. These include a 7% increase in ECCE capitation in 2018; higher capitation payments for graduates and Inclusion Coordinators; annual Programme Support Payments to recognise administrative demands; support for school-age childcare, which will make it easier for service providers to offer staff full-time employment contracts; and a pilot measure to fund participation in CPD. In addition, work has commenced on the development of a Workforce Development Plan, which will identify practical steps to achieve First 5 commitments relating to the workforce, including moving to a graduate-led workforce by 2028.

Childcare Services Staff

Questions (1724)

Kathleen Funchion

Question:

1724. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the estimated cost of taking on the cost of all private childcare classroom staff at all levels nationwide; the number of childcare staff employed by private, not community run crèches at level 5, 6 and 7 based on current numbers. [36938/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

The most recent data available on numbers of staff working in early learning and care services dates from mid-2018 and is set out in Pobal's Early Years Sector Profile Report of 2017/18. At that time Pobal estimated there to be 25,893 staff working directly with children, of whom 65% or approximately 16,800 were working in private services. Of this number, Pobal reported that 27% or approximately 4,600 had relevant qualifications at Level 5 on the National Framework of Qualifications, 44% or approximately 7,500 had qualifications at Level 6, and 7.5% or approximately 1,300 had qualifications at Level 7. In addition, 17% or approximately 2,900 had qualifications at Level 8 or higher, while 3.6% or approximately 600 had either no qualifications or qualifications at less than Level 5. This latter group included staff who had signed the 'grandfather declaration' allowing them to remain working in the sector without qualifications until September 2021, as well as staff who work solely with school-age children, in relation to whom there is currently no minimum qualification requirement.

As the State is not the employer, my Department does not pay the wages of staff working in early learning and care settings, and I am therefore not in a position to estimate what the cost to the State would be if it were to take on the direct employment of all staff currently working in private early learning and care services.

I am, however, doing all that is in my power to improve wages and working conditions in the sector. I have repeatedly called for the sector to pursue a Sectoral Employment Order, which offers a viable mechanism to establish appropriate wage levels. My Department will readily co-operate with such a process when it is under way.

In the interim, I have introduced a range of measures to support employers to improve pay and conditions. These include a 7% increase in ECCE capitation in 2018; higher capitation payments for graduates and Inclusion Coordinators; annual Programme Support Payments to recognise administrative demands; support for school-age childcare, which will make it easier for service providers to offer staff full-time employment contracts; and a pilot measure to fund participation in CPD. In addition, work has commenced on the development of a Workforce Development Plan, which will identify practical steps to achieve First 5 commitments relating to the workforce, including moving to a graduate-led workforce by 2028.

Social Workers Recruitment

Questions (1725)

Kathleen Funchion

Question:

1725. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the estimated cost of an additional ten social workers for one full year of employment on a full-time basis. [36939/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

I wish to advise that my Officials have asked Tusla to respond directly to the Deputy on this matter.

Child and Family Agency Staff

Questions (1726)

Kathleen Funchion

Question:

1726. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the average salary of a full-time Tusla social worker; and the number of full-time social workers employed nationwide. [36940/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

I wish to advise that my Officials have asked Tusla to respond directly to the Deputy on this matter.

Child and Family Agency Expenditure

Questions (1727)

Kathleen Funchion

Question:

1727. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the estimated cost to increase all full-time social workers pay by 25%. [36941/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

I wish to advise that my Officials have asked Tusla to respond directly to the Deputy on this matter.

Child and Family Agency Staff

Questions (1728)

Kathleen Funchion

Question:

1728. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of administrative staff employed to assist Tusla social worker workloads. [36942/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

I wish to advise that my Officials have asked Tusla to respond directly to the Deputy on this matter.

Child and Family Agency Expenditure

Questions (1729)

Kathleen Funchion

Question:

1729. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the cost of hiring an additional ten administrative staff to assist Tusla social worker workloads. [36943/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

I wish to advise that my Officials have asked Tusla to respond directly to the Deputy on this matter.

Social Workers Recruitment

Questions (1730)

Kathleen Funchion

Question:

1730. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the amount spent on the most recent Tusla social worker recruitment drive; the length of time the recruitment drive ran for; and the number of social workers employed as a result. [36944/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

I wish to advise that my Officials have asked Tusla to respond directly to the Deputy on this matter.

Child and Family Agency Data

Questions (1731)

Kathleen Funchion

Question:

1731. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the amount spent on car travel mileage by Tusla crèche inspectors in each of the years 2016 to 2018. [36945/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

I wish to advise that my officials have asked Tusla to respond directly to the Deputy on this matter.

Local Improvement Scheme

Questions (1732)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

1732. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if his attention has been drawn to the need for additional funding to be made available for the local improvement scheme (details supplied); the steps he is taking to address funding deficits in this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36558/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

The Local Improvement Scheme, or LIS, is a programme for improvement works on small private or non-public roads in rural areas. The scheme is funded by my Department and is administered through the Local Authorities.

As the Deputy is aware, there was no dedicated funding for this scheme for a number of years due to constraints on public expenditure. However, I was very conscious of the underlying demand for the scheme in rural areas throughout the country and I reintroduced the LIS in September 2017.

Since then, I have allocated €48 million for improvement works on more than 1,200 roads across the country, including €10 million earlier this year. Funding allocations, on a county by county basis, can be found on the Gov.ie website at the following link: www.gov.ie/en/policy-information/d309ea-local-improvement-scheme/.

I will be closely monitoring expenditure on my Department's programmes over the coming months and any decisions regarding the possibility of further funding for the LIS will be made in that context. The question of funding for the LIS in 2020 will be considered as part of the annual Budgetary process.

Rural Regeneration and Development Fund

Questions (1733)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

1733. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if consideration will be given to an application for RRDF funding from a group (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36688/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

Under Project Ireland 2040, the Government has committed €1 billion to the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund over a 10 year period to support rural economic development and help build strong communities. The Fund has been allocated €315m over the period 2019 to 2022.

The second call for Category 1 applications for the Fund closed at on the 6th August and there was an excellent response from all across the country and my Department received 69 applications for funding.

I can confirm that my Department received an application for the redevelopment of Schull Harbour from Cork County Council.

My Department are currently engaged in collating the applications before the assessment process begins. The outcome of the assessments will be examined by the Project Advisory Board, made up of representatives from key Government Departments and external experts, which was established to oversee the assessment process

My role is to consider and approve the recommendations that emerge from the assessment process outlined above. I expect that an announcement detailing the successful Category 1 projects from the second call to the Fund before the end of 2019.

Ministerial Advisers Data

Questions (1734)

Michael McGrath

Question:

1734. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the name of each person employed as an adviser or special adviser to him and the Minister of State in his Department; the salary of each in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34852/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

My Department was established on 19 July 2017, since then I have appointed three advisers and Minister of State Séan Canney has appointed one adviser, details of which are summarised in the following table.

Name

Title

Salary

Minister

Department

Mr Padraig Hughes

Special Adviser

€94,535

Minister Michael Ring

Department of Rural & Community Development

Mr Daniel Rowan

Press Adviser

€89,356

Minister Michael Ring

Department of Rural & Community Development

Mr Paul Mc Grath

Adviser in a voluntary capacity

Nil

Minister Michael Ring

Department of Rural & Community Development

Mr Robert Hughes

Special Adviser

€85,823

Minister of State Séan Canney

Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment and the Department of Rural & Community Development

Town and Village Renewal Scheme

Questions (1735)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

1735. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development when a decision will be made on applications under the town and village renewal scheme in 2019; when works approved will be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34912/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

I launched the 2019 Town and Village Renewal Scheme on 16th April last and Local Authorities were invited to submit up to 12 applications to my Department for consideration under the scheme. The closing date for receipt of applications was 28th June.

Over 300 applications for funding were received from the Local Authorities. My officials are currently assessing all of the applications received and decisions on the successful applications will be made when the assessment process is fully completed.

In general, projects that are allocated funding under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme take 12-18 months to complete from the date of commencement.