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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 422 - Youth services provision [14082/15].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 422 - Youth services provision [14082/15]. (15 Apr 2015)

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422. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs in relation to the value for money and policy review of youth programmes, the steps he will take to ensure that the young people's facilities and services fund will be targeted, as per the guidelines, at those areas and young persons most at risk from drug abuse. [14082/15]


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 2015, funding of €49.93m has been provided to my Department for these schemes.


  Three of the targeted funding schemes, the Special Projects for Youth scheme, the Young People’s Facilities and Services Fund, and Local Drug Task Force projects scheme, were the subject of a recently completed Value for Money and Policy Review.  The schemes support the provision of youth services for young people who are at risk of drugs, alcohol misuse, early school leaving, homelessness or who are living in disadvantaged communities. In 2012, expenditure on the schemes amounted to €39.7m. The review involved an in-depth scrutiny of a complex area to do with the impact youth service provision has in young people’s lives. Overall, the review found that the youth programmes can provide a significant contribution to improving outcomes for young people, and should be considered for on-going public funding.


  The review makes a number of recommendations for the future operation of the youth schemes and their development in the years ahead. It recommends that the three schemes be replaced with a single, targeted, evidence-based and outcomes focussed scheme designed to secure the optimal outcomes for young people and their communities. It sets out guidance as to how services may be developed to better meet the needs of young people in the target cohort and how demographic information and CSO data about local areas should be part of the programme design.


  My Department has now commenced a detailed consultation process with the youth sector and providers of youth services about the review's findings and recommendations. The consultation includes regional meetings in Cork, Sligo and Dublin City and County over the next month. All local services are being invited to participate, including youth projects funded under the Young People's Facilities and Services Fund and the coordinators of the Drugs Task Forces in the relevant areas. My Department is committed to working collaboratively with the youth sector interests in the development and implementation of the new programme over the next two years. 


  I intend that the reforms recommended in the review will be progressed in the context of the new National Youth Strategy, which is nearing completion. The strategy will be a universal strategy for all young people aged 10 to 24 years. It will have a particular focus on the needs of young people who are at risk of experiencing the poorest outcomes.

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