Written answers

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Department of Children and Youth Affairs

Education Welfare Service Staff

Photo of Robert TroyRobert Troy (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)
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620. To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs when will an education welfare officer be appointed for north Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28371/14]

Photo of Charles FlanaganCharles Flanagan (Minister, Department of Children and Youth Affairs; Laois-Offaly, Fine Gael)
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As the Deputy will be aware the functions and operational responsibilities of the former National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB) are now part of the Child and Family Agency, which was established on 1 January 2014. Since this date the staff of the former NEWB, including its Education Welfare Officers (EWOs), have transferred to the new Agency. The three service strands formerly under the remit of NEWB – the statutory Educational Welfare Service and the school support programme services (Home-School Community Liaison Scheme and the School Completion Programme) under the DEIS strategy – collectively form the Educational Welfare Services of the new Agency. Within the Agency, the statutory Education Welfare Service has specific responsibility for the Agency’s general function to ensure that each child attends a recognised school or otherwise receives a certain minimum education. The appointment of EWOs is a function of the Child and Family Agency.

I have been advised that the position of EWO in North Kildare became vacant as a result of a retirement in February 2012. I have also been advised that arrangements have been in place since the 2012/2013 academic year so that the 107 schools in the area have continued to have access to support from the Education Welfare Service. Currently support is being provided by the Senior EWO along with other officers of the service. The Agency has advised me that it has become necessary to prioritise those cases where students are out of school, expelled or have special education needs in complex situations.

The Agency has further advised me that a reorganisation of Educational Welfare Services in the greater Dublin area, is being undertaken at present, within available resources, with a view to providing an improved service in a number of areas including North Kildare.

Vacancies that arise in staffing in the front line services for children and young people at risk of early school leaving are kept under review and are prioritised by the Agency, in consultation with my Department, in so far as is possible, working within Government policy on public service numbers and the moratorium on recruitment.

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