Deputies

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Reviews of domiciliary care allowance, disability services

The Dail was informed that the review of the domiciliary care allowance, announced by the government in May, was due to begin in early July (Dail Eireann, Debates, 28th June 2012, 594-5).  The working group would include the departments of Social Protection, Health, Children & Youth Affairs and Public Expenditure and Reform, as well as the National Disability Authority and would be chaired by Sylda Langford.

 It would also include three representatives of Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) representing parents and children in receipt of the allowance.  Its terms of reference were to review the policy objectives and legal provisions of the scheme; the current administrative, medical assessment and appeals process; and the duration of review periods.  The medical guidelines would be reviewed and there would be a consultation process with parent and representative groups.  A report and recommendations were due December and the review of individual claims would be suspended meantime.  In addition, there would be a map of supports and services for children with disabilities, to look at linkages and consistency, led by departmental officials.  

 

Regina Doherty (FG, Meath E) asked who would be the NGO representatives and how would they be selected?  It was important that they be representative, otherwise we will learn nothing.  The reality of what people lived through and the description of the process were often poles apart.  Replying for the government, John Perry, Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation, told her that the Minister for Social Protection was open to suggestions and recommendations either from deputies or via the Secretary General.   

Later, the Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, told Maureen O’Sullivan (ind, Dublin C) that Downs Syndrome Ireland, Inclusion Ireland, Irish Autism Action, the Special Needs Parents Association, the Carers Association and the Midlands Regional Forum of People with Disabilities had been invited to join (Dail Eireann, Debates, 5th July 2012, 744).  She added that the terms of reference allowed for a consultation process with parents and representative groups, which would allow others the opportunity to contribute their concerns and suggestions.

 

The Minister of State at the Department of Health, Kathleen Lynch, told Regina Doherty that the value-for-money review of disability services was expected to submit its report to government in the near future and if approved would be published soon thereafter (Dail Eireann, Debates, 10th July 2012, 324-5).  The review body had representatives of the departments of Health & Children and Public Expenditure & Reform, two independent members, the disability sector and the Health Service Executive (HSE); and was chaired by Lawrence Crowley.  

 

Meantime, asked about the Advisory Group on Tax and Social Welfare, the Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, told the Dail that the group was now progressing 2012 budget proposals in the areas of disability allowance and domiciliary care allowance, while its future programme included working age supports (Dail Eireann, Debates, 17th July 2012, 119).

> Additional reference to DCA review: Dail Eireann, Debates, 17th July 2012, 118.