Thursday, 28 March 2019

Ceisteanna (9)

Maureen O'Sullivan


9. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the funding an organisation (details supplied) receives from Tusla; the basis on which the organisation receives funding; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [14342/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí ó Béal (5 píosaí cainte) (Ceist ar Children)

My question concerns a particular organisation. Is it receiving funding from Tusla and, if so, on what basis?

I am informed by Tusla that the organisation in question does not receive funding from Tusla. I understand that the organisation to which the Deputy refers is a member of the new communities partnership, an independent national network of more than 150 immigrant-led groups comprising 65 nationalities which has offices in Dublin and Cork. Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, funds the new communities partnership, which is registered as a charitable organisation. Tusla has informed me that the new communities partnership does not fund the organisation in question.

Under Part 8 of the Child and Family Agency Act 2013, Tusla funds a range of community, voluntary and charitable organisations which provide services to vulnerable children and families. Tusla has a service level agreement with the new communities partnership which governs the funding provided to the organisation and sets out the resources to be provided and the outputs to be delivered.

I thank the Minister for her clear response. However, concerns were raised regarding the group to which I refer. A magazine article raised certain issues and there were concerns that it was receiving funding. There was also reference to a particular individual involved in the organisation being a Tusla staff officer. If all of that information is incorrect, the person who wrote the article has questions to answer.

There is an overall question which alarmed me. I represent north inner city Dublin, which has very diverse communities with many nationalities. However, what we see in childcare organisations is the coming together of nationalities and an inclusiveness. The other aspect to my question was whether nationalities are in some way being separated such that each nationality may have its own childcare facility or separate funding rather than operating in a spirit of inclusiveness and bringing people together. That is the background to my question.

I am aware of the article to which the Deputy referred and which made certain assertions. I agree with the points she raises on the substantive issue. Specifically in regard to this issue, it is important to clarify that Tusla provides funding on the basis of certain service level agreements or objectives or looking for certain things to be delivered by a number of organisations under the new communities partnership. It is the new communities partnership that makes the decision on how to ensure those objectives and services are best provided. It is helpful for the Deputy to raise her questions and concerns, particularly in regard to the new communities partnership which is effectively making the decisions on the basis of the service level agreement. If she so wishes, I will list the general description of services to be provided under the service level agreement, but I am unsure if that is the point she wishes to be addressed.

It is good to raise this issue. It is important that the Minister clarified it and that there is a commitment to inclusiveness when it comes to childcare facilities. We recently celebrated the Chinese new year with a fabulous festival held just off Hill Street in the north inner city. The Hill Street family resource centre does amazing work, at the core of which is inclusiveness. I was alarmed that Tusla could be funding an organisation that was moving away from that ethos.