Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Ceisteanna (490)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

490. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the total number of educational welfare officers here in 2011 to 2013, inclusive, and to date in 2014; and the current number of EWOs in the following areas Dublin 3, Dublin 5, Dublin 13 and Dublin 17. [11630/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

As the Deputy may be aware the functions and operational responsibilities of the former National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB) are now part of the new Child and Family Agency, which was established on 1 January 2014. Since this date the staff of the former NEWB, including its Educational Welfare Officers, have transferred to the new Agency.

Within the Child and Family Agency, the statutory Education Welfare Service (EWS) has specific responsibility for the Agency’s general function to ensure that each child attends a recognised school or otherwise receives a certain minimum education. The Agency has advised me that the total number of Educational Welfare Officers in the years 2011, 2012, 2013 and to date in 2014 are as follows:

2011

2012

2013

2014 to date

59

57

59

58

In addition to these posts, there are 12 Senior Educational Welfare Officers and 3 Regional Managers employed nationally. The Agency has advised me that the Dublin 3, Dublin 5, and Dublin 17 postal districts do not have the services of an assigned Educational Welfare Officer at this time. To ensure continuity of service and a targeted approach to areas and cases of greatest need, all locations where an Educational Welfare Officer is not assigned or where a leave event exists receive a service provided by the Senior Educational Welfare Officer, responding to the most critical situations where children are out of school or have no place. The Agency has advised me that Dublin 13 area has an assigned officer who will be returning in April 2014. I am advised that the other locations mentioned by the Deputy remain priorities for full education welfare service having regard to the resources available to the Agency.

The Child and Family Agency will deliver an integrated approach to educational welfare services through the continued reform of work practices in its three service strands, namely; the Education Welfare Service; Home School Community Liaison Programme (402 school-based co-ordinators); and School Completion Programme (€24.756m in funding provided to support 124 school cluster projects and related initiatives). This integrated model of service is designed to provide an enhanced response to the needs of children, families and schools.

The decision by Government to amalgamate the NEWB and its services into the new Child and Family Agency broadens the focus of the Agency and tackles educational welfare as a key outcome for children in its own right and as a positive contributor to other outcomes. It will provide opportunities for more effective working amongst the range of professionals involved in directly supporting children and their families.