Meath East Deputy Regina Doherty, following today’s Oireachtas Committee meeting on Health and Children has welcomed Minister Frances Fitzgerald’s ambitious plans for the future of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.
Plans and priorities for the future of the Department were discussed in detail at today’s meeting where members of the Committee were introduced to the new Secretary General of the department, Mr. Jim Breslin. Deputies also posed questions to the Minister regarding her proposals for the future of the Department.
“Today’s meeting was hugely positive and it is clear from the ministers’ enthusiasm for her new role that we will see serious changes in the way we deliver services to children in Ireland.”
“My particular interest is in how we deliver services to children with special needs that span across several departments eg OT, Speech Therapy, Counselling Services etc.. Child centred services must be employed, as it is no longer acceptable that children and their parents be pushed from pillar to post when trying to get help for their child. We must also support the families of children with special needs, as the stress they experience is profound and often find they have no-one to reach out to in their time of need. The new Child & Family Support Agency that this Minister is proposing is very welcome. Finally, we have some joined up thinking by politicians.”
Some of the other topics that were discussed were the status of the Children’s Referendum, the placing of the Children’s first guidelines on a statutory footing and the progress that has been made so far in relation to transferring the responsibilities for children and youth affairs from the Department of Health.
The meeting clearly outlined the importance being attached area of Children and Youth Affairs. The meeting enabled the Minister to clearly outline how she intends to progress schemes like Early Childhood Education Scheme and a new childcare policy in Ireland.