Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Ceisteanna (257, 258, 259, 260, 261)

Ciarán Cuffe

Ceist:

374 Mr. Cuffe asked the Minister for Education and Science the reason for the 37% drop in the budget allocated to vocational education committees for the provision of child care for persons on vocational training opportunities schemes, Youthreach and senior Traveller schemes. [1201/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Jimmy Deenihan

Ceist:

430 Mr. Deenihan asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will grant additional funding to Kerry Education Services to provide child care for students on the vocational training overseas scheme programme, at the Adult Education Centre, Moyderwell, Tralee, County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1315/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Tony Gregory

Ceist:

469 Mr. Gregory asked the Minister for Education and Science the amounts paid to VECs to cover child care costs for participants on Youthreach, VTOS and Traveller training in 2002 and 2003; the supplementary amounts paid in 2003 following the cuts of July 2003 and any shortfall involved; the individual child care costs of participants and the allowance paid towards the individual cost; and to state if he is committed to making proper provision for child care costs of these disadvantaged participants. [1642/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Brian O'Shea

Ceist:

478 Mr. O'Shea asked the Minister for Education and Science the proposals he has in regard to the concerns of County Waterford Vocational Education Committee (details supplied) on child care funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1700/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

481 Ms O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Education and Science the extra money allocated to each VEC which has contacted his Department with regard to shortfalls in funding for child care for persons on the vocational training opportunities scheme, Youthreach and senior Traveller's schemes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1725/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Education and Science)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 374, 430, 469, 478 and 481 together.

My Department provides funding to VECs to assist towards the child care expenses of participants in VTOS, Youthreach and senior Traveller centre programmes. The financial provision nationally in 2002 for child care assistance to participants on these programme was €3,019,000. The corresponding provision for 2003 was €2,984,204.

The estimate by VECs of their needs for child care funding in 2002 exceeded the amount available. Additional funds became available towards the end of 2002, which allowed the Department to allocate supplementary grants in respect of child care assistance. Payout to VECs for 2002 was €4,736,831. In 2003, 27 VECs, including those serving the City of Dublin, County Kerry and County Waterford, requested special assistance by way of additional funding for their child care services. These VECs were asked to indicate their minimal requirements to maintain the service. Following a review of budgetary provision across the range of further education programmes and supports, it was found possible to redesignate certain elements of funding to enable supplementary grants to be allocated for child care. Payout to VECs for 2003 was €4,821,759.00.

The administration of grants to participants in VTOS, Youthreach and senior Traveller programmes is a matter for individual VECs. A working group comprising representatives of my Department and the Irish Vocational Education Association has been established to review the criteria for the allocation of grants for child care for 2004 and into the future with a view to making more efficient use of the funds available in the light of increasing demand. Grants to VECs to assist towards child care expenses of participants in VTOS, Youthreach and senior Traveller programmes in 2004 will be considered in the light of the provision in the revised Estimates.