Written answers

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Department of Health and Children

Youth Services

9:00 pm

Photo of Timmy DooleyTimmy Dooley (Clare, Fianna Fail)
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Question 191: To ask the Minister for Health and Children the youth facilities including youth cafés planned for County Clare in 2008. [4488/08]

Photo of Margaret ConlonMargaret Conlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Fianna Fail)
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Question 198: To ask the Minister for Health and Children her plans for youth cafés to be initiated throughout the country; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4537/08]

Photo of Brendan SmithBrendan Smith (Minister of State with special responsibility for Children, Department of Health and Children; Cavan-Monaghan, Fianna Fail)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 191 and 198 together.

The launch of the National Recreation Policy last September highlighted Government's commitment to the development of youth cafés. As the Deputy will be aware there are already a number of youth cafés in operation around the country. Funding for these existing initiatives is provided through local City/County Council and Health Service Executive. In addition, the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs operate a number of relevant funding programmes aimed at supporting community development, locally based community and voluntary groups as well as programmes aimed specifically at supporting projects for disadvantaged youth.

At this stage, my focus is to bring better coherence to the approach taken to date, retaining the strong inter-agency element and identifying an appropriate model(s) for youth cafés for future developments. Since September my office has undertaken a small survey of some of the existing cafés looking at mission/objectives, management and organisation, service levels and the role of young people. I requested the National Children's Advisory Council's advice on the development of a youth café model and research work has been commissioned by the Council in this regard. I am anticipating the Council will be in a position to report to me by the end of May. This work will guide government in ensuring that funding is targeted and co-ordinated most effectively on a model or models of youth cafés which meet the needs identified by young people themselves. Discussions are underway with my Cabinet colleagues regarding a youth café programme and appropriate funding mechanisms. I am considering which agency could best lead on the programme and how to ensure any funding which might be made available augments, without displacing, the existing inter-agency resources.


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