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Education Welfare Service.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 7 December 2004

Tuesday, 7 December 2004

Ceisteanna (355)

Emmet Stagg

Ceist:

330 Mr. Stagg asked the Minister for Education and Science if the appointment of two educational welfare officers will be sanctioned for Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32177/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Education and Science)

The Education (Welfare) Act 2000 established the National Educational Welfare Board as the single national body with responsibility for school attendance. The Act provides a comprehensive framework promoting regular school attendance and tackling the problems of absenteeism and early school leaving. The general functions of the board are to ensure that each child attends a recognised school or otherwise receives a certain minimum education.

To discharge its responsibilities, the board is developing a nationwide service that is accessible to schools, parents-guardians and others concerned with the welfare of young people. For this purpose, educational welfare officers, EWOs, are being appointed and deployed throughout the country to provide a welfare-focused service to support regular school attendance and discharge the board's functions locally.

The budget which has been allocated to the National Educational Welfare Board or 2005 is €7.8 million, an increase of €1.3 million or 20% on the 2004 allocation.

My Department recently conveyed approval to the NEWB for the filling of a further ten educational welfare officer posts, bringing the authorised staffing from 84 to 94. These additional posts will enable the board to further rollout its services at local level around the country.

Decisions relating to the assignment of the additional staff to specific areas are a matter for the board which is an independent statutory agency. However, the board has recently indicated that Kildare is one of the areas to which it will now appoint an educational welfare officer.

I will keep the issue of the NEWB's staffing under review in light of the roll-out of services and further proposals that the board may put to me on clearly identified priority needs.

Question No. 331 answered with QuestionNo. 309.
Question No. 332 answered with QuestionNo. 305.
Questions Nos. 333 to 335, inclusive, answered with Question No. 304.
Question No. 336 answered with QuestionNo. 306.
Question No. 337 answered with QuestionNo. 304.
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