Wednesday, 19 November 2014
Department of Children and Youth Affairs
Child and Family Agency Expenditure
34. To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if he will provide a breakdown of the cost over-run of Tusla for 2014 and in particular to comment on the extent to which the over-run relates to the cost of purchasing private beds for children and adolescents; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43982/14]
The financial allocation for Tusla, The Child and Family Agency, in 2014, its first year of operation, was set at €609 million. This is comprised of €602 million in current funding and €7 million in capital funding. The overall level of funding available to the Agency, which is significant by any measurement, is designed to ensure that the Agency can provide a comprehensive and integrated service to children and families who require support. In Budget 2014, an additional sum of €6.7 million was made available to support the Agency's reform of the child welfare and protection services. The level of expenditure to date by the Agency amounts to €544m.
Notwithstanding the additional resources provided and the prioritisation of these services by the Government, it is acknowledged that delivering the range of service required of the Agency, within this budget, is challenging as a result of demographic and social factors. This has been reflected most recently in a report prepared by the Agency, titled 'Measuring the Pressure' which shows, inter alia, that there has been a strong rise in demand for foster care and private residential care over the period. Operational reforms are ongoing to achieve the most effective utilisation of existing resources. In addition, the Agency has been working to bring added controls in the area of legal services and continues to develop its approach to commissioning. My officials continue to review data on activity levels and performance on an ongoing basis as part of the performance management function of the Department. Specifically, my officials closely monitor the cash position of the Agency and are working with the Agency to determine an evidence based full year cash requirement.
The matter of whether supplementary funding is required to meet the running costs of the Agency in 2014 is currently been discussed with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform as part of the ongoing budgetary discussions. The initial figures do show cost overruns in a number of areas including private residential and fostercare which will be somewhat offset by savings in other areas. As has already been referenced the Agency is in its first year of operation and is charged with managing its allocation of funding. As discussions with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform conclude a more informed position will emerge.