274. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will publish an interim report on her Department’s sustainability and cost review of the early years sector. (Question 20646/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Early Years Sector)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): The Independent Review of the Cost of Providing Quality Childcare is a critical input to the on-going reform of childcare in Ireland and is commitment in the Programme for Government. 
This Review seeks to:
- Analyse the current costs of providing childcare in Ireland and factors that impact on those costs;
- Develop a model of the unit cost/costs of providing childcare that allows analysis of policy changes and variation in cos...

284. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a comprehensive review of a carer’s allowance which was recently withdrawn from a child’s (details supplied) parents even though this child has very complex needs will be undertaken; if it will be reinstated; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20597/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Carer’s Allowance Review)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Carer’s allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment made to a person who is habitually resident in the State and who is providing full-time care and attention to a person who has such a disability that they require that level of care.
It is a condition for receipt of CA that the applicant’s means are less than the statutory limit which in this case is €265.10 weekly.
CA was in payment to the person conc...

253. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) will receive a date for an orthodontic appointment. (Question 19659/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Orthodontic Services)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE Governance Act 2013 bars the Minister for Health from directing the HSE to provide a treatment or a personal service to any individual or to confer eligibility on any individual.
The National Waiting List Management Policy, a standardised approach to managing ...

230. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the percentage of children enrolled in the ECCE programme that will be eligible to avail of the next programme year (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19376/18 asked on 03 May 2018 - Early Childhood Care and Education Data)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): There are currently 67,052 children enrolled in ECCE for this programme year, 2017/18, who will be eligible for the next programme year, 2018/19. This represents 57% of the 117,152 children currently registered on the ECCE scheme for 2017-18.
From September 2018, all children meeting the minimum age requirement of 2 years and 8 months will be eligible for a full two programme years on the ECCE scheme (or free preschool as it has...

231. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of households that use child minders for part or all of their childcare needs. (Question 19377/18 asked on 03 May 2018 - Child Care Services Data)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): As the vast majority of childminders are currently unregistered, I can provide estimates of the number of individuals involved in childminding, but not concrete figures. According to CSO estimates, 10% of children in Ireland from infancy to 12 years of age receive childcare services from childminders, au pairs or nannies, often in combination with other forms of parental and non-parental childcare. This equates to approximatel...

232. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the percentage of children who availed of ECCE hours in two programme years (details supplied). (Question 19378/18 asked on 03 May 2018 - Early Childhood Care and Education Data)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): I understand, following clarification received, that the Deputy’s question relates to the number of children who have availed of ECCE in more than one programme year.
When ECCE was introduced in 2010 it was only for one programme year or 38 weeks. ECCE was extended in 2016 when, on average, children benefitted from 61 weeks. The number of children that have availed of more than one programme year since the extension in 2016 ar...

233. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of households availing of each subsidy level (details supplied) of the childcare subsidy scheme in tabular form. (Question 19379/18 asked on 03 May 2018 - Child Care Services Data)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): In September 2017 as part of the Government policy to make childcare more affordable, I introduced a universal childcare subvention payment of up to €20 per week for families using eligible childcare providers for the care of children aged from 6 months to the first eligible point of entry to the Early Childhood Care and Education scheme (ECCE). The Universal scheme is administered through the current Community Childcare Subven...

234. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the estimated full year cost of one child’s place in the ECCE programme. (Question 19380/18 asked on 03 May 2018 - Early Childhood Care and Education Data)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): The ECCE programme operates over a 38 week programme year. Currently service providers receive €64.50 per child per week. If a service has been approved for higher capitation the weekly payment increases to €75 per child. Pre-school settings employing an Inclusion Co-ordinator under the LINC programme will receive an increase of €2 per child per week in the rate of ECCE capitation payable.
Higher Capitation is paid for individu...

152. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of children seeking asylum awaiting the allocation of a social care worker; the average wait time; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19143/18 asked on 02 May 2018 - Asylum Support Services)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Separated children seeking asylum, who are in care, are allocated a social worker. While they may receive services from social care workers, their dedicated point of contact remains their allocated social worker.
Children who are with their parents or families, and applying for asylum, remain in the care of their parents. They may receive supports from social workers or social care workers, as required. Tusla does not collate in...

153. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of children seeking asylum here awaiting an aftercare plan. (Question 19144/18 asked on 02 May 2018 - Asylum Support Services)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): I have written to Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, and will provide the information to which the Deputy refers once I have received it.
 ...

22. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her views on the recent child sex abuse case at a foster home in County Galway; her further views on whether this case warrants systemic change in child protection services; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19097/18 asked on 01 May 2018 - Child Protection)

Deputy Anne Rabbitte: Last week, when the Minister was away, I raised a Topical Issue matter. Normally I am not very successful in getting one selected for discussion, but on that occasion I managed to do so. I am asking the same question again today. It is to ask the Minister to provide her views on the recent child sex abuse case at a foster care home in County Galway; whether she believe the case warrants systematic change in Ireland’s child protection services; and if she will make a stat...

24. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs to outline the status of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes; if she is satisfied with its progress; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19098/18 asked on 01 May 2018 - Mother and Baby Homes Inquiries)

Deputy Anne Rabbitte: Will the Minister outline the status of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes? Is she satisfied with its progress? Will the Minister make a statement on the matter?
 ...

26. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her views on whether children seeking asylum here are treated equally and fairly by welfare and protection services, particularly with regard to the allocation of social workers and aftercare provision; and if she is satisfied with existing arrangements. (Question 19114/18 asked on 01 May 2018 - Children and Family Services Provision)

Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin: I refer to the 1,200 children who are currently living in direct provision, some of whom are in my constituency in the Eyre Powell in Newbridge. Deputy Rabbitte met a group from Mosney at the recent Foróige awards and was most impressed with them. Does the Minister believe that children seeking asylum in Ireland are treated equally and fairly by Ireland’s child welfare and protection services, particularly in the allocation of social workers and aftercare provision, an...

30. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she is satisfied that Tusla is adequately resourced to deal with its workload in view of the recent introduction of mandatory reporting; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18803/18 asked on 01 May 2018 - Child and Family Agency Funding)

Deputy Anne Rabbitte: Is the Minister satisfied that Tusla is adequately resourced to deal with its workload in view of the recent introduction of mandatory reporting and will she make a statement on the matter?
 ...

31. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if her attention has been drawn to the confusion and anomalies caused by the age limits that her Department has imposed as eligibility criteria for the ECCE programme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18799/18 asked on 01 May 2018 - Early Childhood Care and Education Programmes)

Deputy Anne Rabbitte: My question is to ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if her attention has been drawn to the confusion and anomalies caused by the age limits that her Department has imposed as eligibility criteria for the ECCE programme; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
 ...

47. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she is satisfied that each voluntary organisation in receipt of funding from her Department is meeting child protection requirements; her views on whether sufficient steps are being taken to ensure that this is the case; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18800/18 asked on 01 May 2018 - Child Protection)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): The Children First Act 2015 places a number of statutory obligations on organisations providing relevant services to children. These obligations include: a requirement to keep children safe from harm while they are availing of the service; a requirement to carry out a risk assessment, and, a requirement to prepare a child safeguarding statement which sets out the policies and procedures which are in place to mitigate these risks...

56. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the status of the implementation of the affordable childcare scheme; the date by which the information and communication technology infrastructure will be launched; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18801/18 asked on 01 May 2018 - Affordable Childcare Scheme Implementation)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Thank you Deputy Rabbitte. I would be delighted to update you on positive progress in preparing the new Affordable Childcare Scheme. 
Officials from my Department, along with colleagues in Pobal, have been working hard to develop the legal, technical and administrative infrastructure for the new Affordable Childcare Scheme. This scheme will provide financial support for parents, establish a sustainable platform for investment i...

58. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the status of her Department’s work to implement the recommendations of the Internet content governance advisory group; the actions she is taking to keep children safe online; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18802/18 asked on 01 May 2018 - Internet Safety)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Keeping children safe online requires a whole of government approach. I am committed to playing my part in a co-ordinated cross-Government approach. 
The Department of the Taoiseach is currently developing an Action Plan on online safety involving all relevant departments to ensure that our actions are coordinated, complementary and robust. Officials in my Department are participating in this process.
While my department does no...

148. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Education and Skills the accommodation funding that was granted to a school (details supplied). (Question 18766/18 asked on 01 May 2018 - School Accommodation Provision)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I can confirm that the school referred to by the Deputy submitted an application for major capital works to my Department under the Additional School Accommodation Scheme. The Additional Accommodation Scheme is designed to address immediate essential classroom accommodation deficits.
In that regard, having examined the application, approval in principle has been granted to the school in respect of four additional temporary classrooms to...

75. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if a date has been set for a meeting of the high level forum on community employment supervisor pensions; if his attention has been drawn to the anger and frustration of community employment supervisors and assistant supervisors; his views on the fact that their contribution to improving the life chances of scheme participants and to their overall local communities is not being properly recognised at the end of their careers in spite of a Labour Court ruling in their favour; his further views on whether the Government may be undermining the Labour Court by ignoring its recommendation; and the steps he will take to resolve the matter. (Question 18400/18 asked on 26 Apr 2018 - Community Employment Schemes Supervisors)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 70 to 88, inclusive, 90, 91, 96 and 97 together.
I would refer the Deputies to my responses to PQ 54985/17 of 16 January 2018 and PQ 13684/18 of 27 March 2018.
 ...

221. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she has considered the need for youth service provision in the Meakstown and Charlestown areas of Dublin 11. (Question 18108/18 asked on 25 Apr 2018 - Youth Services Provision)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): 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. 
Finglas Youth Resource Centre is funded under my Department’s Young Peoples Facilities and Services Fund. This fund was established by the Government in 1998 to assist in the delivery of preventative strategies in a targeted manne...

222. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of sessional ECCE places that are offered by county in tabular form. (Question 18148/18 asked on 25 Apr 2018 - Early Childhood Care and Education Data)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): The figures provided in the following table are from the Early Years Sector Profile 2016/17. The figures from the current pre-school year will be published later this year.
  County 3-5 year olds capacity Carlow 1,689 Cavan 1,919 Clare 3,121 Cork City 3,102 Cork County 10,968 Donegal 4,197 Dublin - Dublin City 10,873 Dublin - Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown 4,926 Dublin - Fingal 8,556...

223. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if the situation whereby there are only nine crèches in Dublin 4 that offer sessional ECCE places will be addressed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18149/18 asked on 25 Apr 2018 - Early Childhood Care and Education)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): In the absence of clarification, which was requested from the Deputy’s Office, I understand that the Deputy’s question states that there are only 9 services in the Dublin 4 area which offer sessional ECCE places.  I would however like to clarify that, in the 2017/2018 programme year, 27 services in the Dublin 4 area are providing ECCE, 9 of which are sessional only.  It should also be noted that the majority of these settings al...

224. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the steps her Department takes to monitor capacity within the ECCE system. (Question 18150/18 asked on 25 Apr 2018 - Early Childhood Care and Education)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): The Department of Children and Youth Affairs monitors ECCE capacity through several reporting mechanisms. Primarily, Pobal - in their capacity as administrators of the ECCE programme - provide a comprehensive annual overview of the Early Years Sector and report their findings through the Early Years Sector Profile report. This report provides an accurate overview of childcare places regionally and nationally in three categories;...

305. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Garda retirements from each Garda station in County Galway in each of the years 2014 to 2017 and to date in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18082/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018 - Garda Retirements)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 285, 286, and 297 to 317, inclusive, together.
This Government is committed to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and to deter crime. To achieve this the Government has put in place a plan for an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021 comprising 15,000 Garda members, ...