As incoming Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, I am in the process of familiarising myself with the composition of the budget for my Department and the different services falling within its remit.
The Revised Estimates for Public Services 2014 allocated gross funding to my Department of some €997 million, which includes more than €955 million in current funding and €42 million in capital funding. On 27 March 2014, my predecessor informed the Deputy that she considered that the Estimate provision for the Department is facilitating the delivery of a significant level of public services as well as a number of new policy measures. These include the establishment of the new Child and Family Agency which took effect on 1 January 2014 and for which the level of funding allocated was more than €600 million in current funding and €6.8 million in capital spending; an additional €4 million to support implementation of the pre-school quality agenda; an increase of €1.5 million in funding to address child poverty through the new area based childhood programme as part of a total budget allocation for this programme over the period from 2013 to 2016 of almost €30 million; and €31 million in capital funding to facilitate the continuation of construction work on the new children detention school facilities at Oberstown, Lusk, an issue we discussed a few moments ago.
Some of the issues mentioned by the Deputy, particularly the reporting of child abuse, consequent protection measures and the issues of child abuse generally, including sexual abuse, are now the responsibility of Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, which was established on 1 January last. The overall level of funding available to the agency, which is significant by any measurement, is designed to ensure it can provide a comprehensive and integrated service to children and families who require support. In budget 2014, an additional sum of €6.7 million was made available to support the agency's reform of child welfare and protection services. This allocation will increase to €15 million in 2015.