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Home > 105. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will provide a progress update on the establishment of the new Child and Family Services Agency; if she will confirm if the agency is on track to be established on 1 January 2013. [24025/12]

[Oireachtas] 105. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will provide a progress update on the establishment of the new Child and Family Services Agency; if she will confirm if the agency is on track to be established on 1 January 2013. [24025/12]. (15 May 2012)

URL: http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/debates%20a...

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The commitment to establish a new Child and Family Support Agency is at the heart of the Government’s reform of child and family services. The establishment of a single agency, underpinned by legislation and incorporating key children and family services, will provide a focus for the major reforms already underway. This reform programme contains a number of critical elements:


The continued and urgent implementation of a comprehensive change programme to improve the quality and consistency of child welfare and protection services;


The introduction of legislation to place Children First on a statutory basis;


The establishment for the first time of a dedicated budget for children and family services, providing transparency and accountability for the use of resources to meet national priorities;

The transition of existing HSE child protection and welfare and services into the new Agency;

The merger of the existing Family Support Agency with a budget of over €26 million into the Child and Family Support Agency;

Consideration of the potential for further rationalisation of services for children under the new Agency.

A comprehensive change programme is currently being implemented under the leadership of Gordon Jeyes, as National Director of Child and Family Services. The change programme is designed to significantly enhance the level and consistency of child welfare and protection services. This change process will continue into the new Child and Family Support Agency where Gordon Jeyes will be the first Chief Executive. In addition, an open recruitment process is underway with a view to putting in place the other key senior personnel to lead the Agency.


I established a Task Force to advise my Department in regard to the necessary transition programme to establish a Child and Family Support Agency. The Task Force has undertaken a considerable body of work in preparation for the new Agency. I met with the Task Force at their twelfth meeting held last month for an update on this work, which is also being advanced through two sub-groups. In the coming weeks I expect to receive the advice of the Task Force on a number of key issues which are critical to my decisions on legislative proposals regarding the new Agency and in particular, a vision for the Agency, governance arrangements and appropriate services for inclusion in the Agency.

As I have outlined, extensive work is underway in my Department, in the HSE, and through the Task Force I set up last September to prepare for the establishment of the Child and Family Support Agency. I am satisfied that we are making excellent progress in terms of the necessary preparatory work required to meet the Government’s ambitious timetable which will see the Agency assuming full statutory responsibility for services for children and families early in 2013.

Written Answers - Child and Family Support Agency
Vol. 765 No. 3
Unrevised


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