Tuesday, 12 February 2008
Department of Health and Children
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 cafÃ©s. As the Deputy will be aware there are already a number of youth cafÃ©s 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 cafÃ©s for future developments. Since September my office has undertaken a small survey of some of the existing cafÃ©s 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 cafÃ© 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 cafÃ©s which meet the needs identified by young people themselves. Discussions are underway with my Cabinet colleagues regarding a youth cafÃ© 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.