Tuesday, 10 February 2004

Ceisteanna (188)

Charlie O'Connor

Ceist:

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.