Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 13 - Young people’s facilities and services fund [35435/14].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 13 - Young people’s facilities and services fund [35435/14]. (25 Sep 2014)

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Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs his views on the operation of the Young People's Facilities and Services Fund; his further views on the need for continuous monitoring of the fund to ensure it reaches its target groups. [35435/14] 

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy James Reilly): My Department administers a range of funding schemes and programmes to support the provision of youth services to young people throughout the country including those from disadvantaged communities. In 2014, funding of €49.78 m has been provided to my Department for these schemes. 

From within this budget, my Department provides funding to projects under the Young People's Facilities and Services Fund. Some 230 projects are supported under the Fund. They are located in disadvantaged areas where a significant drug problem exists or has the potential to develop. The objective is to attract “at risk” young people into facilities and activities and divert them away from the dangers of substance abuse. In 2014, the allocation for the Young People’s Facilities and Services Fund is €18.4 m.

The projects funded report on an on-going basis to my Department and they are linked with the Education and Training Boards in their respective areas in the context of overall youth funding at local level. The projects provide annual progress reports on their activities and audited accounts to my Department. The youth projects and services also provide a progress report on their engagement with the National Quality Standards Framework for youth work on an annual basis to my Department. 

The Young People’s Facilities and Services Fund is one of three schemes administered by my Department that target young people who are “at risk” because they live in disadvantaged communities and they are vulnerable to drugs, alcohol misuse, or they are out of school, or at risk of homelessness. Together the Young People’s Facilities and Services Fund, the Special Projects for Youth and Local Drug Task Force schemes account for 70% of the funding available to my Department for the provision of youth services. In 2014, almost €34 m was allocated to the schemes. 

My Department has recently completed a Value for Money and Policy Review of the schemes. The review makes recommendations for the future operation of the schemes that will shape their development in the years ahead to ensure quality effective, value for money services that are evidence based and designed to secure the best outcomes for young people. The review includes recommendations about governance processes that will improve oversight of how well the schemes are meeting their objectives for vulnerable young people. 

I am currently considering the review's findings and recommendations and my Department is making arrangements for its publication at an early date. I intend that the recommendations of the review will be progressed in the context of the new National Youth Strategy that is being developed by my Department. The National Youth Strategy will be a strategy for all young people aged 10-24 years and it will have particular regard to young people experiencing or at risk of experiencing the poorest outcomes and in most need of support. The strategy will be informed by the recommendations of the Value for Money and Policy Review as to how best the youth services may be developed for the future to meet the needs of this cohort of young people and improve the prospects of securing improved developmental outcomes for them. It is anticipated that the new National Youth Strategy will be completed by the end of this year.

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