Child welfare

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2 News: Progress on new children’s agency

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs reported to the Dail on her progress in establishing the new children’s agency  (Dail Eireann, Debates, 15th December 2011, 401-3, 407-8).  The task force to advise the department had now met eight times and she had established, in the estimates, a budget head for its establishment.  Provision had been made of €568m in 2012, down on €587m in 2011, the reduction of 3% being based on employment control, pay and efficiency savings and procurement targets.  An additional €2.2m had been set aside for establishment and transitional arrangements (later, she gave figures of €16.2m in 2012 increasing to €5m in 2013 – Ed).  She envisaged legislation in 2012 with a view to establishment in 2013.  The operational costs of the Family Support Agency and the Family Resource Centres would have a -5% reduction in 2012, giving savings of €0.9m, while €1.2m would be saved under its counselling grants scheme.  A number of pilot schemes would come to an end of 2012-4 and these would be mainstreamed where possible.  She would use her capital allocation of €8m to to continue and enhance the youth café programme, parent and toddler group and community childcare facilities.  €3m had also been set aside for the constitutional referendum on children’s rights.