Thursday, 22 February 2018

Ceisteanna (211)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

211. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the extent to which she envisages improved counselling services for children at risk and their families; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9246/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

Under the Child and Family Agency Act, 2013, Tusla, the Child and Family Agency is required to support and promote the development, welfare and protection of children. Tusla provides funding to voluntary organisations offering a range of counselling and support services to children and families including:

- Marriage and relationship counselling,

- Child counselling,

- Rainbows Peer Support Programme for children,

- Bereavement counselling and support on the death of a family member.

In 2017, Tusla provided funding of approximately €5.9 million to support organisations providing counselling services, the majority of which are voluntary.  The organisations that are funded vary enormously in size and approach; some are dedicated counselling bodies, others provide counselling as part of a wider range of social and family services.  These services provide support to families, children and young people. The funding provided by Tusla focuses on the development of support services in the community for families to enhance stability in family life and to assist children and families and their members in dealing with difficult periods in their lives. 

Tusla's priority is to ensure that counselling services provide support and promote the development, welfare and protection of children and the effective functioning of families. Counselling services funded by Tusla are specifically targeted at children who have been affected by parental separation or who have suffered family bereavement. Tusla’s marriage and relationship counselling funding is instrumental in assisting parents to deal with difficulties they experience in their personal relationships.

Mental health policy is under the remit of my colleague the Minister for Health, and Tusla works closely with other care providers including the Health Service Executive (HSE), in respect of access to child and adolescent mental health services.

Tusla will continue to work closely with service providers to support children and young people at risk and the effective functioning of families.