Written answers

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Department of Children and Youth Affairs

Youth Justice Strategy

Photo of Robert TroyRobert Troy (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)
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158. To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs when she intends to publish a successor strategy to the national youth justice strategy 2008-10; the reason no successor strategy has been published to date; her assessment of the impact of the 2008-10 strategy; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48467/13]

Photo of Frances FitzgeraldFrances Fitzgerald (Minister, Department of Children; Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael)
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Since the 1 January 2012 the Irish Youth Justice Service has been based in my Department and operates across two Departments, my Department and the Department of Justice and Equality and is staffed by officials from both Departments.

The main legislation covering youth justice is the Children Act, 2001. Responsibility for the Children Act, 2001 is shared between the Minister for Justice and Equality and myself with:

- The Minister for Justice and Equality being responsible for most of the Act which includes youth crime policy and law, including crime prevention, crime reduction, criminal proceedings, diversion and community sanctions (including community projects). Minister Shatter is also responsible for dealings with An Garda Síochána and the Probation Service as well as responsibility, via the Irish Prison Service, for young people in St. Patrick’s Institution.

- I am responsible for the 3 Children Detention Schools at Oberstown, Lusk, Co. Dublin which provide detention places to the Courts for girls up to the age of 18 years and boys up to the age of 17 years ordered to be remanded or committed on criminal charges. I am also responsible for the child care aspects of the Children Act, 2001.

The National Youth Justice Oversight Group completed its draft “Report on the Implementation of the National Youth Justice Strategy 2008-2010” in April, 2012 and it was presented to the Senior Officials Group on Social Policy on 13th June, 2012 and to the Cabinet Sub Committee on Social Policy on 1st October, 2012. The report is available on the IYJS website www.iyjs.ie.

The Irish Youth Justice Service in my Department is currently finalising its Youth Justice Action Plan 2014-2018 which will sit within the Children and Young People's Policy Framework (CYPPF) 2014-2018 currently being developed in my Department but will also form part of the National Anti-CrimeStrategy being developed as part of the draft White Paper on Crime process being finalised by my colleague Minister Shatter.

The focus for the forthcoming Plan will be to continue the downward trends in high volume crime and detention; becoming more adept in understanding and intervening in more serious crime offending patterns; and improving the effectiveness and efficiency of these interventions in addressing the behaviour and needs of these children. The Plan involves evidence-informed targeted interventions to achieve better outcomes for children who get into trouble with the law, and to reduce crime leading to safer communities. Importantly, the voice and experiences of children involved in the youth justice system have influenced the development of these interventions.

The drafting and publication of the plan has been a collaborative effort between my Department and the Department of Justice and Equality. I believe this collaborative approach provides a solid platform to achieve our shared objectives and I intend to publish the Action Plan in conjunction with Minister Shatter in the very near future.

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