Child welfare

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2 Debates: Bringing it all back home programme

Aengus O Snodaigh (SF, Dublin SC) appealed for funding to continue the community-based programme Bringing it all back home (Dail Eireann, Debates, 15th April 2014, 79-81).  Launched 2011, it was an inter-agency programme to assist highly disadvantaged children and families in parts of Dublin (Inchicore, Crumlin, Ballyfermot, Kilmainham, Bluebell, St Michael’s Estate), areas disproportionately affected. The programme had been funded until June, had been evaluated as successful and applauded as a model of good practice.  The programme was run on a shoestring, €120,000, with part-time personnel, with people sourcing their own office furniture.  It had not been a burden on the state.  

 

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald, explained to him that this was one of 11 projects in five counties under the National Early Years Initiative, now in the final phase of implementation and exploring the difficult issue of sustainability.  They had end dates between April and August, the latter being case for Bringing it all back home.  They were a trial, pilot initiative and she understood that no further funding was available from Atlantic Philanthropies or the Mount st Club, the original funders.  There would be a national conference in May to discuss the findings and the lessons learned.  There could be discussions with local children’s services committees on continuing the work.

 

Aengus O Snodaigh spoke of how those most affected were at high risk.  The catchment area had the highest proportion of children going into care and that would be an additional cost to the state.  The minister agreed that this kind of early intervention yielded great results and that was why the government had committed €30m to the new Area Based Childhood (ABC) programmes.  She undertook to ask the local children’s services committee to give her a report on continuity issues.  Although they were pilot projects, they merited examination as to whether continuity was possible.