Tuesday, 10 February 2004

Ceisteanna (188)

Charlie O'Connor


264 Mr. O'Connor asked the Minister for Education and Science if funding will be made available to cater for the referral of pupils for professional counselling outside the school setting. [3864/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Education and Science)

My Department funds the guidance counselling service, which is available to all post-primary schools. In addition, the National Educational Psychological Service, NEPS, provides a psychological service to children and young people in primary and post-primary schools. Guidance counsellors and NEPS psychologists provide a certain amount of counselling input and this is always provided within the school setting.

From time to time, it is felt that a pupil would benefit from more intensive, long-term counselling and-or therapy. In such cases, the guidance counsellor and-or the NEPS psychologist refer the pupil concerned to the child and adolescent psychiatric services funded by the health boards. Parents may also ask their general practitioner for a referral to these services. My Department has no plans at present to fund referrals to counselling services other than those provided by the State.