Friday, July 20, 2012

Child and Family Support Agency represents huge shift in national policy

Fine Gael Meath East TD, Regina Doherty, has today (Friday) said that the new Child and Family Support Agency, which is due to be established next year, represents a huge shift in national policy and will help provide much greater support to vulnerable children and their families. Deputy Doherty was speaking after the Minister for Children, Frances Fitzgerald, published the Final Report of the Task Force on the Child and Family Support Agency.

“Since coming to office, this Government has placed child protection on the national agenda in a greater way than ever before. We displayed our determination to give this area the attention it deserves by establishing a dedicated department of children, with a senior ministry. Since then, the Government has been incrementally introducing a range of legislation that will greatly enhance the protection we offer our children.

“The new Child and Family Support Agency will see a range of services being brought together under one body. This will mean that one State agency will have the single focus of ensuring child and family support services are adequately delivered. In turn, this agency will report to just one Government department, as opposed to the scatter gun approach that existing before.

“Under previous administrations, child protection services were spread across a range of bodies, units and departments. The failures of the past, by the State and its agencies, in relation to child protection are well document. Some of these failures were due to poor communications, a lack of co-ordination and incoherence in policy. Now, under this new Agency, we will have a seamless integration of policy and service delivery.

“I have no doubt that it will take some time and a huge amount of hard work for this new structure to be put in place. But the approval by Cabinet this week of the drafting of legislation to establish the new Agency is a major step forward that should ultimately lead to a safer, sounder, more solid structure being put in place for the welfare of all our children.”

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