Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 84 - Community employment schemes operation [2770/17].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 84 - Community employment schemes operation [2770/17]. (24 Jan 2017)

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84. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Social Protection if his attention has been drawn to specific difficulties being experienced by supervisors and sponsors in managing special community employment schemes for drugs-related projects; if he will examine a more streamlined approach for these projects; the number of persons currently on drugs-related project community employment schemes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2770/17]


Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Leo Varadkar): A new Programme Framework for Community Employment (CE) drug rehabilitation schemes was introduced in January 2016. Before finalising the Framework, there was an important consultation process both within my Department and with the community and voluntary sector and the HSE.


One of the main issues discussed in detail during this consultation was that addiction is a complex, bio-psycho-social phenomenon. Accordingly, a range of factors will affect participant’s progression towards recovery and an integrated response is required to ensure effective outcomes for participants, supervisors and sponsors. I believe that the Framework provides the necessary flexibility and support both to participants entering the CE drug rehabilitation programme and to supervisors and sponsors.


At the end of December 2016, there were 987 referred clients on drug rehabilitation places (697 male and 290 female) and 138 support workers (50 male and 88 female). In total, at the end of December 2016 therefore, there were 1,125 places taken up on CE drugs schemes.


As the Deputy is aware, under the National Drugs Strategy, it is also recognised that the response to substance misuse is a cross-cutting issue. No single agency has the range of competencies or expertise to provide all the supports needed to assist recovering drug users to complete their rehabilitation. While CE has an important role to play, it needs to be supplemented by support from other bodies such as the HSE, the Department of Education and Science and relevant agencies that play a key role in the overall integrated response to this client group in terms of rehabilitation.


If the Deputy is aware of particular issues affecting CE drugs schemes, he should bring them to my attention and I will ask my officials to examine them.


I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

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