Taxi Licences

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Ceisteanna (401)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Ceist:

401. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the position regarding an application by a person (details supplied). [22842/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The regulation of the small public service vehicle (SPSV) industry, including the licensing of vehicles within this sector, is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) under the provisions of the Taxi Regulation Act 2013.

I have referred your question to the NTA for direct reply to you. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within 10 working days.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Childcare Services Funding

Ceisteanna (402, 404, 421)

Michael Fitzmaurice

Ceist:

402. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if a community childcare centre (details supplied) will be granted Pobal funding to erect an extension to accommodate the growing number of parents who are eager for their children to avail of the services on offer; when Pobal funding announcements will take place; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22491/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

404. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if capital funding will be approved for a childcare facility (details supplied); when she will be in a position to approve same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22321/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Eugene Murphy

Ceist:

421. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if Pobal funding will be provided in respect of a childcare centre (details supplied) in County Galway which is in urgent need of a new extension in order to meet childcare needs in the area; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22488/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 402, 404 and 421 together.

Assisting childcare providers in extending their existing childcare services, or establishing new childcare services, have always been key areas of focus for my Department's capital programmes.

Each year the Department reviews the capital programmes as a whole and determines the priorities for Early Learning and Care and School Age Capital grants.

The capital strands have been made available to achieve the strategic priorities for 2019 as determined by the Department, having regard to the funding available, developed using analysis of the current state of the childcare sector, learnings from previous capital programmes and feedback and input from stakeholders, including childcare providers and Pobal.

I remain committed to assisting all childcare providers, both community and private, in providing world-class childcare and meeting demand for childcare places, and I anticipate that this year's Capital programme will build on last year's good work in the sector, as well as that of previous years.

The application window for the Capital programmes closed on 27th March 2019 and the appraisal process for applications is currently underway in Pobal. I am unable to comment on this service's capital application, however I would like to assure you that all applications for funding will be appraised in a fair, thorough and impartial manner. In accordance with principles of fairness and equality, no favour will be shown to any individual service or services, and all appraisal will be undertaken on the basis of the content of their applications for funding alone.

Decisions are due to be delivered to applicants in June 2019 in the hope that capital works can begin as soon as possible following this.

The results of the appraisal process, including the final decisions, will be communicated to providers directly following their completion.

Early Childhood Care and Education

Question No. 404 answered with Question No. 402.

Ceisteanna (403)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

403. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the steps she is taking to support stay-at-home parents; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21809/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

First 5, a Whole-of-Government Strategy for Babies, Young Children and their Families, was published in November 2018. First 5 includes over 150 actions including a broad a range of measures to support families given their fundamental importance in shaping children’s experiences and outcomes. The vision for babies and young children articulated in First 5 is of a healthy childhood starting in pregnancy; time together with parents especially in the first year in a nurturing and playful home environment where material needs are met; high quality play-based Early Learning and Care experiences; positive transitions to primary school; and supportive community contexts.

The Government is committed to supporting parents in caring for young children at home in a range of ways.

Within the remit of my Department, the policy priorities are to provide access to Early Learning and Care and School-Age Childcare supports to parents of young children, whether they work full time or part time, or look after their children at home full-time. These policies seek to support children’s early development and to support their families.

For example, in terms of Early Learning and Care supports provided by my Department, from September of last year, all children are eligible to avail of two years of universal pre-school, without cost, through the Early Childhood Care and Education programme (ECCE) prior to beginning primary school. Almost 108,000 children are currently participating, many of whom are children of stay-at-home parents.

The current targeted Early Learning and Care and School-Age Childcare subsidy schemes are available to families where parents are in receipt of certain social welfare payments, medical cards, or GP Visit cards, again many of whom are stay-at-home parents.

A universal subsidy is available to all parents of children from six months until their child becomes eligible for the universal preschool programme (ECCE), regardless of whether parents are working or not. The National Childcare Scheme which will be open for applications later this year will make subsidies available on the basis of family income and will also be available to stay-at-home parents. This is underpinned by the Childcare Support Act 2018.

My Department also provides funding for local parent and toddler groups to organise activities for parents and young children in the community to support their development through play. Both working parents and stay-at-home parents participate. 449 groups were supported in 2018.

In the coming years, my Department will also be leading on developing a new model of parenting services from universal to targeted provision, covering key stages of child development and taking account of parents and children in a range of contexts and parenting relationships.

More widely across Government, there are various initiatives that support stay-at-home parents. A child benefit payment of €140 per child per month is available for all children. Budget 2019 announced an increase to the home carer tax credit to €1,500 per year.

There have also been a number of new measures to support parents to spend time at home with children in their early years. Two weeks of paternity leave and benefit for fathers was introduced in 2016. In 2017, there was an extension to maternity leave and benefit to mothers of babies born prematurely. Budget 2019 announced the introduction of a new paid parental leave scheme which will be available to both fathers and mothers from later this year. Legislation extending the amount of unpaid parental leave and increasing the age of the child to which it applies has recently passed.

First 5 sets out Government's commitment that by 2021, parents will each have an individual entitlement to seven weeks of paid parental leave, to potentially allow children to benefit from an additional 14 weeks parental care in their first year.

My Department has led the development of the implementation plan for First 5 which will be published this week. The implementation plan sets out how the first phase of delivery of the over 150 actions in First 5, including many that will benefit stay-at-home parents, will be progressed in the coming three years.

Question No. 404 answered with Question No. 402.

Childcare Services Staff

Ceisteanna (405)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

405. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the steps she is taking to assist with improvements in the pay and conditions of childcare staff; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22322/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I have been unequivocal in my support for better pay and conditions for staff in Early Learning and Care services. Early Learning and Care practitioners play a critical role in supporting young children's early learning and development and in providing a safe and caring environment. They deserve to be recognised, valued and respected for this.

While my Department funds a wide range of initiatives to support the quality, affordability and accessibility of early learning and care and school age childcare services, the State is not the employer of staff in this sector and cannot set wage levels. The large majority of Early Learning and Care settings are private businesses (74% according to the most recent figures from Pobal), with the remainder being independent, community-based, not for profit organisations (26%).

I have repeatedly called for the Early Learning and Care sector to pursue a Sectoral Employment Order, which offers a viable mechanism to establish appropriate wage levels. As the Deputy will be aware, neither I nor my officials can initiate a Sectoral Employment Order, but my Department will readily co-operate with such a process, if and when it is underway.

My Department has also supported a range of measures to improve pay and conditions using the tools available. These include the 117% increase in investment over the last 4 budgets that has supported services to operate at optimal capacity and has provided additional capitation for early learning and care programmes, including a 7% rise in September 2018 in the ECCE capitation rate. Measures also include the introduction for the first time of an annual Programme Support Payment to recognise the administrative roles that services play; this totals €21.4m in 2019. I have also continued to provide a higher rate of capitation payment for graduate-led pre-school rooms, to encourage the attraction and retention of Early Learning and Care graduates, and in 2017 I introduced a higher capitation payment for services that employ a qualified Inclusion Coordinator as part of the AIM programme. In addition, last year I introduced a pilot measure for funding services whose staff take part in continuing professional development, and I am extending the pilot this year to include the new 'Aistear and Play' CPD programme implemented by Better Start. I hope to build on this pilot further over the years to come, following an evaluation. I have encouraged providers to use such additional funding to support, wherever possible, improved pay and conditions of the hard-working frontline staff that make such a lasting difference to children's lives.

The 2018 sector profile published by Pobal showed an increase in the average wage in the sector from €11.93 per hour in 2017 to €12.17 in 2018, but it is clear that there is a long way to go before staff have the wages and working conditions ( including full time , full year contracts) that reflect the importance of the work they do.

First 5, the Whole-of-Government Strategy for Babies, Young Children and Families, includes commitments to move to a graduate-led workforce, with at least 50% of staff holding an appropriate degree-level qualification by 2028, and to raise the profile of careers in Early Learning and Care (and school-age childcare). Work will commence shortly on preparing a Workforce Development Plan, which will set out the actions required over the next 10 years to achieve these commitments in First 5 .

Foster Care

Ceisteanna (406)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

406. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if an investigation will be conducted into the fact that three times as many children are taken into foster care in County Cork compared to counties Dublin, Wicklow and Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22334/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I can advise the Deputy that a child received into care by Tusla as a result of a legal court order or through voluntary parental consent is placed in foster care or residential care.

Foster care is the main form of alternative care for children in need of care and protection, and is the preferred option for children who cannot live with their parents or guardians. Children, depending on their individual need and based on their Care Plan, may be placed in foster care either with relatives or with general foster carers. Of the children in care in Ireland, 92% are in foster care, nationally. This compares very favourably to foster care services overseas. In the UK 73% of children in care are in foster care. In fact, Ireland compares extremely well internationally with regard to placement of children with foster carers, as opposed to in institutional care. Ireland, along with Australia, has one of the highest rates of family placement (foster family care and formal relative or kinship care) in child welfare systems globally.

I wish to advise the Deputy that Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, collate data by Tusla administrative area, rather than by county.

The following table shows the number of children in foster care in each of the counties mentioned by the Deputy. These figures relate to February 2019, the latest available data. The total number of children in foster care in Dublin, Wicklow and Kildare is 1,692, while the total number for Cork is 729.

Table :Number of children in foster care February 2019

Tusla Area

Number of children in foster care February 2019

Dublin South Central

328

Dublin South East/Wicklow

245

Dublin South West/ Kildare/West Wicklow

360

Dublin City North

465

Dublin North

294

Cork

729

Foster Care Policy

Ceisteanna (407)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

407. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs further to Parliamentary Question No. 446 of 14 May 2019, if her reply will be amended in view of correspondence (details supplied) proving that Tusla got a court order to have a child receive first Holy Communion and be baptised against the mother's wish; and the reason for her erroneous reply. [22398/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I wish to thank the Deputy for her question. As with Parliamentary Question No. 446 of 14 May, Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, are in a better position to address the Deputy's concerns. As such, I have again referred the matter to Tusla for their direct reply.

Childcare Services Funding

Ceisteanna (408)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

408. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the status of funding for a preschool (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22399/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

Assisting childcare providers in extending their existing childcare services, or establishing new childcare services, have always been key areas of focus for my Department's capital programmes.

Each year the Department reviews the capital programmes as a whole and determines the priorities for Early Learning and Care and School Age Capital grants.

The capital strands have been made available to achieve the strategic priorities for 2019 as determined by the Department, having regard to the funding available, developed using analysis of the current state of the childcare sector, learnings from previous capital programmes and feedback and input from stakeholders, including childcare providers and Pobal.

I remain committed to assisting all childcare providers, both community and private, in providing world-class childcare and meeting demand for childcare places, and I anticipate that this year's Capital programme will build on last year's good work in the sector, as well as that of previous years.

The application window for the Capital programmes closed on 27th March 2019 and the appraisal process for applications is currently underway in Pobal. I am unable to comment on this service's capital application, however I would like to assure you that all applications for funding will be appraised in a fair, thorough and impartial manner. In accordance with principles of fairness and equality, no favour will be shown to any individual service or services, and all appraisal will be undertaken on the basis of the content of their applications for funding alone.

Decisions are due to be delivered to applicants in June 2019 in the hope that capital works can begin as soon as possible following this.

The results of the appraisal process, including the final decisions, will be communicated to providers directly following their completion.

Childcare Services Funding

Ceisteanna (409)

James Browne

Ceist:

409. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the position regarding the new national childcare scheme; if her attention has been drawn to the fact that changes to funding streams are affecting after-school project services in disadvantaged areas; the way in which these after-school project services will be funded; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22421/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

The National Childcare Scheme is a new, national scheme of financial support for parents towards the cost of childcare. The development of this Scheme is a significant move forward in delivering quality, accessible, affordable childcare to families throughout Ireland.

The Scheme represents a fundamental shift away from subsidies grounded in medical card and social protection entitlements, and towards a comprehensive and progressive system of universal and income-based subsidies. By making this shift and by tangibly reducing the cost of quality childcare for thousands of families across Ireland, the Scheme aims to improve children's outcomes, support lifelong learning, make work pay and reduce child poverty. It is also designed to have a positive impact on gender equality in relation to labour market participation and employment opportunities.

The Scheme will replace the existing targeted childcare schemes with a single, streamlined and user-friendly scheme, providing both universal and targeted childcare subsidies. To make the transition to the new Scheme as smooth as possible, families can choose to make the switch to the new Scheme once it launches (targeted for October/ November 2019) or can remain on their current childcare subsidy programme for one final year.

With regard to income-based subsidies awarded under the Scheme, parents who are working, studying or who meet certain other conditions will qualify for an enhanced-hours subsidy (up to a maximum of 40 hours per week). The definitions of ‘work’ and ‘study’ will be set out in regulations made under the Childcare Support Act 2018 and will be comprehensive, covering differing types of work and study arrangements, such as part-time, week on/ week off and zero hour contract arrangements.

The National Childcare Scheme will greatly increase the number of families who can access financial support. By removing many of the restrictive eligibility requirements of the existing programmes, a far greater number of families will be eligible for targeted, income-related subsidies. Many families will, for the first time, be entitled to subsidies which will reduce their childcare costs significantly.

There may, however, be a small number of cases where a family who is currently receiving the maximum rate for full-time childcare under an existing programme may receive less under the National Childcare Scheme, particularly if their child is – in reality – receiving afterschool care rather than full-time childcare. In such cases, the family can remain on their current payment in the transition period following the Scheme’s launch. I have also directed my officials to undertake research and analysis to examine any adjustments to the National Childcare Scheme which might be required to address unusual or anomalous cases, where this is the right thing to do to protect and benefit lower income parents.

In this regard, I would highlight that the new National Childcare Scheme has been designed to be flexible, with income thresholds, maximum hours and subsidy rates which can be adjusted in line with Government decisions and as more investment becomes available. As such, any adjustments deemed necessary by Government can be carried out in a quick and responsive manner.

Finally, the Deputy may be aware that my Department also funds Educational Welfare services which are operated by Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. The Schools Completion Programme regularly provides after-school services or homework clubs. These are most often provided in areas of disadvantage. The funding for Educational Welfare activities is unaffected by the National Childcare Scheme.

Child and Family Agency Data

Ceisteanna (410)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

410. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of children deemed and identified to have been at risk as reported to her Department in each of the past three years to date; the extent to which it was found possible to address the issues raised; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22452/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I can advise the Deputy that Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, is the appropriate body to receive referrals of children at risk. Tusla collate and publish data on the number of referrals received, and the actions taken in relation to referrals. I have therefore written to Tusla and asked them to revert to the Deputy directly.

Child Protection

Ceisteanna (411)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

411. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the extent to which she has available the necessary resources to address the issue of children at risk as a result of a particular source or cause; the extent to which she has been able to respond directly or through agencies under her remit in such cases; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22453/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I can advise the Deputy that Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, is the appropriate body to receive referrals of children at risk. Tusla collates and publishes data on the number of referrals received, and the actions taken in relation to referrals. I have therefore written to Tusla and asked them to revert to the Deputy directly.

Child Protection

Ceisteanna (412)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

412. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the degree to which she has dialogue with youth organisations nationally with a view to adequate protection for young persons when required without delay; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22454/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

Before receiving any funding from my Department, youth organisations must enter into a Service Level Agreement with either their relevant Education and Training Board or Pobal who act as funding intermediaries on behalf of my Department. This service level agreement opens the dialogue by outlining the youth services' responsibilities to protect children under the Children First Act 2015. In order to support this, my Department keeps an open dialogue with youth organisations.

The Child Protection Programme for the Youth Sector is based in the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) and is funded by my Department. This programme, delivered by NYCI, was initially revised for 2018 to encompass the changes from the enactment of Children First. NYCI and my Department are currently working together to provide a fully revised programme, with one stream for youth volunteers and another for paid staff, in 2019.

As part of this programme, NYCI, at the request of my Department, ran general information session for Management Boards of youth organisations to support them in meeting their responsibilities relating to the Act. An information session was also provided for trainers from Youth Work Ireland and City of Dublin Youth Service Board to enable them to deliver the Board Information session to their respective boards.

In addition NYCI currently chairs the Children First Implementation Group for the Youth Sector. This group provides support to youth organisations in relation to the full enactment of the Children First Act. This group has a meeting scheduled for June 2019.

Child Protection Services Provision

Ceisteanna (413)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

413. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the extent to which adequate case workers are available to her Department to meet the issues of children at risk; the extent to which access to treatment or support remains readily available for this purpose nationally and in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22455/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

The question relates to operational matters for Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. I have referred the matter to Tusla and asked that a direct reply issue to the Deputy.

Children and Family Services Provision

Ceisteanna (414)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

414. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the extent to which she has been in a position to offer grant aid to various youth organisations and-or child support agencies; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22456/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, will receive Exchequer funding of over €787m in 2019.

Tusla allocates some €150 million annually to a range of community and voluntary organisations which provide services to achieve better outcomes for vulnerable children, and families, that require interventions and supports.

In 2019, €60.4m has been allocated in current funding to support the provision of youth services, an increase of €1.5m on 2018. This additional funding is being used for programmes that target disadvantaged young people and to assist national youth organisations in their work to support local voluntary youth services.

My Department has also provided an additional 12% in overall funding for the Local Youth Club Grant Scheme, which supports youth work activities at a local level, bringing the total allocation to over €2m.

The detail of the €60.4 million funding allocation for youth work provision in 2019, according to schemes is given in the following table:

Funding Scheme

2019 Allocation

Targeted Youth Funding Scheme

€35,183,847

Youth Information Centres

€1,377,060

Youth Service Grant Scheme

€11,126,380

Revised Youth Funding Scheme VFM

€3,357,346

Local Youth Club Grant Scheme (inc CDYSB Annual Grant)

€2,531,206

Youth Officer Allocation + Technical Assistance

€3,680,092

LGBT Strategy

€400,000

Other National Youth Organisations and Youth Initiatives

€1,721,960

DCYA Policy and Support Programmes (inc. contingency)

€533,207

New Initiatives and other funding streams within Department

€483,902

Total

€60,395,000

As the Deputy is aware my Department is currently managing the most significant reform of youth services ever undertaken. This will provide an opportunity to identify need and to focus funding on young people most in need of intervention.

Future development and investment in youth services will be informed by the mapping exercise completed in 2017, which mapped youth service provision across the State as well as an Area Profiling, Needs Assessment and Service Requirement tool which was designed in collaboration with the Education and Training Board (ETB) sector and was officially launched in January 2019. This mapping and tool will assist the Department and the relevant ETB in developing a detailed social demographic profile in terms of both population numbers and deprivation levels. My Department is committed to working with ETBs to identify requirements in their area and facilitate decisions on service requirement by reference to evidenced need.

Child Protection

Ceisteanna (415)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

415. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the degree to which her Department continues to receive information in respect of children at risk in the home, in public institutions or in foster care; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22457/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I can advise the Deputy that Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, is the appropriate body to receive referrals of children at risk. Tusla publish data on the number of referrals received, and the actions taken in relation to referrals. I have therefore written to Tusla and asked them to revert to the Deputy directly.

Homeless Persons Supports

Ceisteanna (416)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

416. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the extent to which her Department can assist directly or indirectly children whose parents are homeless; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22458/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

While my colleague, the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, has primary responsibility for reducing and ultimately eliminating homelessness, I am committed to helping children and families experiencing homelessness as part of a whole-of-Government response to this problem.

As the Deputy will be aware, children and families experiencing homelessness are supported by Tusla, the Child and Family Agency.

In this regard, Tusla supports homeless families experiencing problems with school attendance, through the School Completion Programme. Children whose families are homeless are prioritised for services such as homework clubs and breakfast clubs.

Tusla and the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE) have agreed a joint protocol to facilitate an inter-agency response to the many challenges posed by homelessness. As part of the protocol, Tusla provides support to the DHRE’s ‘one-stop-shop’ assessment centres. Here Tusla staff deal with matters of child protection and welfare, educational welfare and Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence (DSGBV) services. Tusla’s Homelessness Liaison Officer supports these centres.

Family Resource Centres, funded by Tusla, provide facilities where homeless children and families can avail of a safe, warm environment for homework, relaxation and nutritious food. Tusla is engaging with the Centres to offer further, enhanced services across the greater Dublin area in 2019.

My Department funds free childcare for children and families experiencing homelessness, under the Community Childcare Subvention Resettlement (Transitional) Programme. This includes a daily meal for each child. 312 children have been registered under this scheme in the current programme year (August 2018 – August 2019).

Finally, acting on evidence that a minority of young people leaving the care of the State can have particularly complex needs, I have succeeded in having care-leavers included for the first time as a separate category for funding under the Capital Assistance Scheme (CAS). This provides targeted assistance to the most vulnerable care leavers by enabling Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) to acquire residential units to accommodate them. Where accommodation is provided under CAS, Tusla will provide and, where necessary advocate for, additional independent living supports, in particular for the most vulnerable care leavers, in accordance with the individual’s pre-agreed aftercare plan.

I am pleased to be able to confirm that as of 24 May 2019, 24 care-leavers have availed of places with different Approved Housing Bodies, including 15 with Focus Ireland, six with the Peter McVerry Trust, and three with Don Bosco. Additional placements have been secured and are expected to come on stream within the coming months. These should be available for other young people leaving care in the near future. The security provided by a tenancy in CAS accommodation, combined with the aftercare supports identified by Tusla as part of the aftercare planning process, can help ensure that these young people have a safe base from which to begin their transition to independent adult life.

Our response to homelessness overall is a test of our compassion as a society. We need to eliminate child and family homelessness. While we work towards this we must provide the assistance necessary to help these children and families live in a way that goes some way to addressing the challenges of the situation.

Child Abuse Reports

Ceisteanna (417)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

417. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the degree to which reports of physical, mental and-or sexual abuse of children has been made known to her Department in each of the past three years to date; the degree to which a satisfactory conclusion has been achieved in each case; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22459/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I can advise the Deputy that Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, is the appropriate body to receive referrals of abuse. Tusla publish data on the number of referrals received, and the actions taken in relation to referrals. I have therefore written to Tusla and asked them to revert to the Deputy directly.