Written answers

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Department of Children and Youth Affairs

Child and Family Agency Remit

Photo of Aodhán Ó RíordáinAodhán Ó Ríordáin (Dublin North Central, Labour)
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188. To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the role that will be played by Túslá, the Child and Family Agency, in helping to deliver on the Youth Justice Action Plan 2014-2018 to tackle and prevent youth crime; if she envisages a preventative role for Túslá in the proposed national anti-crime strategy; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7172/14]

Photo of Frances FitzgeraldFrances Fitzgerald (Minister, Department of Children; Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael)
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On 3 February 2014, in conjunction with my colleague, the Minister for Justice and Equality, I launched the Youth Justice Action Plan 2014-2018. The overall mission statement of the Action Plan is to create a safer society by working in partnership to reduce youth offending through appropriate interventions and linkages to services. It is focused on continuing the downward trends in high volume crime and reduce the necessity for detention. The Youth Justice Action Plan 2014-2018 will form part of the Children and Young People’s Policy Framework (CYPPF) currently being developed in my Department, with its focus on better outcomes for children and families. The Action Plan will also form part of the National Anti-Crime Strategy currently being developed by the Department of Justice and Equality as part of the White Paper on Crime process, with its focus on crime reduction and safer communities.

The implementation of the Youth Justice Service Action Plan 2014-2018 will be driven by a steering group, chaired by the Director of the Irish Youth Justice Service, and comprising senior representatives from my Department, the Probation Service, the Courts Service, an Garda Síochána, Tusla - the Child and Family Agency and the Department of Justice and Equality. Tusla is one of the agencies consulted in the drawing up of the Youth Justice Service Action Plan 2014-2018 and is also on the steering group which will monitor the Youth Justice Action Plan 2014-2018.

It is important to note that Tusla will be one of a number of stakeholder agencies / Departments involved in the delivery of the Action Plan, which contains a major emphasis on interagency working based on agreed objectives. In particular, Tusla will work alongside other relevant agencies toward the following objectives in the Action Plan.

- Enhanced collaboration between partners through effective information-sharing and to promote best practice (Objective 1.1)

- Ensuring that Government investment in the youth justice system yields positive results (Objective 1.2)

- To improve and increase the availability of reliable and relevant research on youth crime and the youth justice system, via improved sharing of data and statistics between criminal justice agencies, partners and stakeholders (Objective 2.2)

- Exploring active means by which the views of young people can inform policy and improve performance of the youth justice system (Objective 2.4)

- Engaging with other youth service providers to promote the use of crime prevention supports and a standardised working ethos in delivery of youth services (Objective 3.2)

- Embedding pro-social development strategies towards preventing any young person from becoming involved in offending behaviour. In this respect the stakeholders will work to address the needs of those involved and/or at serious risk of involvement in crime. Relevant stakeholder agencies will also ensure that young people identified at risk of offending receive appropriate and adequate care (Objective 3.3)

- Provision of specialist therapeutic services to young people in the detention schools and the review of protocols for care of young people in detention (Objective 5.1)

- Inputting as necessary into a review of the appropriate governance structure for the integration of the detention schools (Objective 5.2).

By its input into the Youth Justice Action Plan, Tusla will also be directly impacting on all relevant goals of the proposed National Anti - Crime Strategy. I welcome the positive role that Tusla has committed to providing in the implementation of the Youth Justice Action Plan and by extension, the National Anti Crime Strategy.


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