Cautious welcome for increase in funding for children’s services

Barnardos and the Children’s Rights Alliance both welcomed the news that the Child and Family Agency will receive an extra €26m in its budget for next year.

The additional funding — coming amid criticism that the new agency had been seriously hamstrung since it began work last January because of inadequate resources — means Tusla will operate with a total budget of €635m in 2015.

The increase represents a 4.3% rise over the 2014 budget, while the sum includes more than €12m in capital funding — up €5.6m.

That money will help pay for the next phase of the roll-out of the new National Child Care Information system, which will help track vulnerable children. Schemes and services funded by the department will have a budget of €375m.

There had been a view that Tusla might have to make €8m in savings, but instead more resources are being provided. There will also be no reduction in funding of youth services, which will receive €50m.

Tanya Ward, chief executive, of the Children’s Rights Alliance, said: “The Government managed to find an extra €26m for the Child and Family Agency to shore up its services for vulnerable children in residential and foster care. Ultimately, our child protection system will be in a stronger place because of this investment.”

Barnardos CEO Fergus Finlay said: “The additional investment for Child and Family Agency, Tusla, bringing the total budget up to €635m is good news. This Agency must be adequately funded to provide desperately important services for our children and allow it to take action to deal with current waiting lists.”

However, the chairwoman of the National Forum of Family Resource Centres, Karin Jonsson, said the budget “demonstrates the lack of vision for rebuilding a better future, particularly for disadvantaged families and communities”.

“It would seem that the big ticket items in the increased Tusla budget, will be targeted at infrastructure for young people who are already in the system,” said Ms Jonsson.


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