Tuesday, 12 July 2011
Dáil Éireann Debate
31. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the date on which the administrative structures of her Department will be finalised; the manner in which the work related to North-South co-operation will be prioritised in the development of these structures; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19886/11]
46. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her plans to increase links with the Irish Youth Justice Service; the projects she and this organisation will engage in jointly; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19895/11]
My Department was established following a series of transfer orders on 3 June, and has taken on legal authority across a range of areas, including the functions of the former Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs. Functions of other Government Departments that have been transferred to the new Department are family policy and the Family Support Agency, previously the responsibility of the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs and the National Education and Welfare Board, which came from the Department of Education and Skills.
The new Secretary General was appointed last week. A key priority task for the Secretary General will be the development of the administrative structures for the Department to ensure that it works effectively across what is a challenging brief and to maximise the benefits arising from bringing the various linked functions together. I expect that this work will be completed in the autumn.
North/South co-operation is a function that has been working well within the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (OMCYA) and it will be part of the structures of the new Department. The issue of child protection features prominently in Health Sectoral meetings of the North South Ministerial Council. I plan to attend the next such meeting scheduled for Armagh later this month.
As regards the Irish Youth Justice Service (IYJS), it has been agreed that this will transfer to the new Department and this will take place later this year once the necessary legislative basis is in place. In the meantime on an administrative basis, IYJS staff have been coming to departmental management meetings and structures are being established to facilitate their integration into the work of the Department. I should say that the Director General of the OMCYA has for a number of years chaired the Irish Youth Justice Oversight Committee which brings together people from a number of organisations and which has proved an effective way of managing some of the cross cutting issues that arise.
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