Written answers

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Department of Children and Youth Affairs

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
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1155. To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the additional budgetary allocation related to Covid-19 for victims of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence related services her Department has allocated. [6853/20]

Photo of Katherine ZapponeKatherine Zappone (Dublin South West, Independent)
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The response to Domestic, Sexual Violence and Gender-based Violence (DSGBV) is a cross Departmental and multi-agency issue. Policy is coordinated by the Department of Justice and Equality (DJE). Tusla, the Child and Family Agency has statutory responsibility for the care and protection of victims of DSGBV.

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs is providing Tusla with €25.3m this year for almost 60 organisations that deliver services for these victims. This includes funding and coordinated supports for 22 services that provide emergency refuge and non-refuge accommodation to victims of domestic violence. 

Tusla has advised the Department that, to date, it has allocated an additional €250,000 to DSGBV service providers to support continuity of business and essential service provision related to COVID-19 including additional accommodation; staffing capacity and ICT to enable remote working. The Agency has advised that the full year forecast is an estimated €0.750 million in additional funding for the DSGBV Services voluntary sector due to the impact of the Covid-19 crisis.

Photo of Paul MurphyPaul Murphy (Dublin South West, RISE)
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1156. To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the assistance that will be provided to small crèche owners to assist with filling out the necessary paperwork to avail of the TWSCS. [6854/20]

Photo of Katherine ZapponeKatherine Zappone (Dublin South West, Independent)
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The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an unprecedented situation that has required a series of emergency responses from the Government.

I am acutely aware of the particular impact the pandemic and the emergency measures have had on the Early Learning and Care (ELC) and School Age Childcare (SAC) providers. I am also very conscious of the importance of the ELC and SAC sector for children’s positive development and in terms of supporting the economy as we move beyond this crisis.

Recognising this, I launched the Temporary Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme (TWSCS) on 15 April. This scheme is a very significant measure to support the sector. The aim of the TWSCS is threefold:

- to support the sustainability of the ELC and SAC sector so that it is in a position to reopen after COVID-19;

- to provide parents with a reassurance that if their ELC and SAC provider signs up to the scheme, they are not required to pay fees during this COVID-19 crisis, and they will maintain their ELC / SAC place when services resume and

- to give Early Learning and Care practitioners security and to retain these vital Educators in the sector.

A range of supports are available to all participating service providers to assist them with the administrative requirements of the scheme. My Department and Pobal have produced how-to guides on completing the application form and calculating payroll amounts. My Department has also published extensive FAQs which contain details of the TWSCS, including information on the scheme’s practicalities.

Further assistance for participating providers is available from local City/County Childcare Committees and from Pobal’s Early Years Provider Centre. I would urge any service provider who has specific queries or needs assistance with the scheme’s requirements to get in touch with these bodies.

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