Written answers

Thursday, 1 April 2021

Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth

Child and Family Agency

Martin Browne (Tipperary, Sinn Fein)
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259. To ask the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth his views on the fact that the Tusla prevention, partnership and family support programme does not have a community-based team in south County Tipperary; his further views on the way funding is given to a local resource centre instead; his views on the appropriateness of not having a specific Tusla prevention, partnership and family support community-based team in south County Tipperary; the other health areas in which there is no community-based prevention, partnership and family support team run by Tusla; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17833/21]

Roderic O'Gorman (Dublin West, Green Party)
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The purpose of the Prevention, Partnership and Family Support Programme (PPFS) is to support children, young people, parents and families in accessing preventative and support services while enabling their participation in decisions which affect their lives. It aims to prevent risks to children and young people arising or escalating through building sustainable services within Tusla and partner organisations to perform preventative and early intervention work. The programme addresses Tusla’s statutory requirement under the Child and Family Agency Act to provide ‘preventative family support services aimed at promoting the welfare of children’. PPFS works to build connectivity by engaging with Tusla and external services across the continuum of care.

Tusla has established 118 Child & Family Support Networks (CFSNs) across Ireland, which help to support integrated and co-ordinated supports for children, young people and families at local community level. CFSNs are a frontline operational structure set up by Tusla to support integrated service delivery. Members of CFSNs come from a variety of agencies or local voluntary and community services such as the Community and Voluntary Sector, HSE Primary Care Social Work, Early Years Services, Sports Clubs, Speech & Language Therapy, An Garda Siochána, Youth Probation Services, Primary and Secondary Schools etc. There are three CFSN networks in South Tipperary, and South Tipperary PPFS continues to develop as do other PPFS services across the country in line with available resources.

In practical terms, if a family presents to one service within the Child & Family Support Network and that service is not equipped to meet their needs, that network member can effectively re-direct the family to the most appropriate network member(s) or service. To be able to do this, CFSNs develop a good understanding and become familiar with one another’s work. The CFSNs also facilitate the coordination of the use of Meitheal, the Tusla-led early intervention national practice model that identifies a child’s and their families’ needs and strengths, and brings together a team around the child to deliver preventative support.

South Tipperary follows this model and has a Senior CFSN Coordinator in place. Tusla commissions services from its community and voluntary sector funded partners, including the Family Resource Centres, based on identified need. The Senior Manager for PPFS would have a key role in identifying the need for these community based services and oversees related service level agreements.

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