Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answers 50 & 56 - Youth services provision [40179/16].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answers 50 & 56 - Youth services provision [40179/16]. (14 Dec 2016)

50. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will provide support to the youth services sector, acknowledging their work; and her plans to restore their funding in line with predicted population increases of 13% in the age group between 18 to 25 year olds. [40179/16]


56. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if her attention has been drawn to the drugs and alcohol awareness programmes and interventions being offered through youth clubs and youth services in Dublin; and if she will provide support to them to further their vital work. [40181/16]


Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): I propose to take Questions Nos. 50 and 56 together.


My Department administers a range of funding schemes and programmes to support the provision of youth services by the voluntary youth sector, to young people throughout the country. The funding schemes support national and local youth work provision to some 380,000 young people. The voluntary youth sector involves approximately 1,400 paid staff, including youth workers and 40,000 volunteers working in youth work services and communities throughout the country.


I am pleased to tell the Deputy that Budget 2016 has provided an additional €5.5m in current funding to my Department for voluntary youth services. The increased funding will support, in the main, the targeted programmes for young people who are at risk of drugs or alcohol misuse, homelessness, unemployment or early school leaving. It will allow, potentially, an increase of up to 5% to all existing youth projects; the inclusion of organisations providing much needed services to young people and which haven’t been funded up to now and the re-examination of current funding streams to ensure best outcomes for young people.


Following the Budget 2017 announcement, my Department commenced the process with local services, via the Education and Training Boards and national organisations to identify service development needs for 2017 and to agree the 2017 allocations. Every effort will be made to complete this process as soon as possible.


You will be aware that the targeted schemes supporting youth services were the subject of a Value for Money and Policy Review. The review involved an in-depth scrutiny of the impact youth service provision has on young people’s lives. The review made a number of recommendations for the future operation of the youth schemes and their development in the years ahead.


The work on the development of a new funding scheme has been prioritised by my Department and consultations with youth services are continuing with a view to introducing the new youth funding programme in line with the Value for Money and Policy Review of Youth Programmes over the coming years.


As a first step, my Department has embarked on an exercise, in conjunction with Pobal and each Education and Training Board Youth Officer, which will map youth service provision across the State. This mapping exercise will assist my Department and the relevant Education and Training Board in developing a detailed social demographic profile in terms of both population numbers and deprivation levels, particularly when the Census 2016 data becomes available. It is my intention that this mapping exercise will inform future development and investment in youth services.


I am pleased to inform the Deputy that I have had the pleasure of visiting many youth services across the country since my appointment. I have seen, first hand, the enormous contribution that these services make to improving outcomes for young people and I can assure the Deputy of my continued support for the sector, over the coming years.

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