Child welfare

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Round-up of reports due from government

The Minister of State at the Department of Health, Kathleen Lynch, told Brian Walsh (FG, Galway W) that the Value for Money and Policy review (VFMPR) on disability services was well advanced and, if accepted by government, would be published in the first half of 2012 ((Dail Eireann, Debates, 29th March 2012, 434).  The steering group was currently drafting its final report.  


The Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, told Denis Naughten (ind, Roscommon – S Leitrim ), that she would publish ‘in due course’ the modular report of the Advisory Group on Tax and Social Welfare on  child and family income support (Dail Eireann, Debates, 29th March 2012, 388).   The report had already been submitted to her, she was considering it in some detail and would revert to the group to seek clarification on some issues.   Following the 2012 budget, she had extended the group’s terms of reference to cover the Disability Allowance and the Domiciliary Care Allowance.  The group was now addressing the other issues in its work programme.


The Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, told Pearse Doherty (SF, Donegal SW)  that the review of Community Employment schemes had taken longer than anticipated (Dail Eireann, Debates, 29th March 2012, 389). The additional time allowed more opportunities for schemes to engage with local officials to finalize their respective budgets and for the department to bring forward improvements to its overall operation.  The examination so far indicates that savings can be made in administrative costs.  


The Minister of State at the Department of Health Kathleen Lynch told Pat Deering (FG, Carlow Kilkenny) that consultation on the national carers strategy was now taking place: it was hoped that a draft would be completed by end March 2012 as a basis for final consultation before submission to government and publication (Dail Eireann, Debates, 21st March 2012, 356).    The strategy would not be an operational plan but set the strategic direction for future services: it would be conceptual, visionary and set down high-level principles, goals and objectives, with a road map for implementation.


The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan, told Robert Dowds (Lab, Dublin MW) that he planned to make proposals to government by Easter on waiver schemes for household waste collection (Dail Eireann, Debates, 21st March 2012, 270).  Public consultation had closed last September: a large number of responses had been received, but a consensus was not apparent.


The Minister for Defence, Alan Shatter, told Sandra McLellan (SF, Cork E) that the government would publish, later this year, heads of a Bill for the governance of the Red Cross, the most wide-ranging changes to the society since 1939 (Dail Eireann, Debates, 14th March 2012, 541). 


The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald, told Michael Colreavy (SF, Sligo Leitrim N) that she expected to publish, later in 2012, the Children and Youth Strategy, which would contain therein discrete but complementary strategies, the Youth Policy Framework and the National Children’s Strategy (Dail Eireann, Debates, 13th March 2012, 345-6).  The youth strategy was being assisted by an International Expert Reference Group and a Task Group under the National Youth Work Advisory Committee.   Her department was organizing, with a Centre for Effective Services, a Symposium on Youth Development Outcomes in July 2012.


The Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, Jan O’Sullivan told Simon Harris (FG, Wicklow) that work on updating the homeless strategy The way home – a strategy to address adult homelessness 2008-2013 was almost complete (Dail Eireann, Debates, 27th March 2012, 875-7).  While the strategy was fundamentally sound, some key targets had not been achieved and the Programme for Government was committed to reviewing it and adopting a housing-led approach.  Later, she told Aengus O Snodaigh (SF, Dublin SC) that a report on the management of homeless services in the Dublin region, which accounted for 70% of spending on homeless services, was now complete.  Consideration would be given to publishing it (Dail Eireann, Debates, 28th March 2012, 192).