Wednesday, 19 November 2014
Department of Children and Youth Affairs
106. To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the way his Department may positively intervene to assist children and teenagers who may find themselves attracted to a life of crime by virtue of their environment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44499/14]
I see the role of my Department as working in an integrated way to develop strong linkages between early prevention and intervention, developing closer working relationships between the care system and the justice system with the main focus of keeping children out of the criminal justice system as much as possible.
For the relatively small number of young people whose behaviour has unfortunately led to their involvement in the youth justice system and ultimately to detention, we must provide a safe and secure environment and support their early re-integration into the community. My Department oversees the operation of the Children Detention Schools which provide appropriate educational, training and other programmes which promote the reintegration of the young people back into society and promote general life skills.
My Department also provides in the region of €53m to support the provision of quality youth provision throughout the country. This funding supports the provision of youth services and programmes to young people throughout the country including those from disadvantaged communities. Targeted supports for disadvantaged, marginalised and at risk young people are provided through the Special Projects for Youth Scheme, the Young Peoples Facilities and Services Fund and the Local Drugs Task Force Projects.
In addition, I wish to advise that on 3 February 2014, the then Minister for Children and Youth Affairs in conjunction with the Minister for Justice and Equality 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 forms part of the Children and Young People's Policy Framework which was launched by my Department in April 2014.
The Deputy should note that community based interventions to divert young people from offending behaviour, such as the Garda Youth Diversion Projects and the Garda Diversion Programme, which aim to engage young people in a process of learning and development that enables them to make positive lifestyle choices are the responsibility of my colleague, the Minister for Justice and Equality