Working Together for Children - Children Services Committees
IMPORTANT NOTICE 1st March 2013:
The Centre for Effective Services is recruiting a National Coordinator for Children’s Services Committees, based in Dublin, to work with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, the new Child and Family Support Agency, and other statutory agencies to lead the Children’s Services Committees (CSCs) Initiative. Find out more
The Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA), is leading an initiative to develop and implement a planning model for national and local interagency working to improve outcomes for children. This is collectively known as the Working Together for Children initiative. The purpose of the Working Together for Children initiative is to secure better developmental outcomes for children through more effective integration of policies and services in particular through the Children’s Services Committees (CSCs).
Towards 2016, the Government’s 10-year Social Partnership Agreement, published in 2006, provides an overarching framework to address key challenges that individuals face at each stage of the lifecycle. It includes a specific focus on the needs of children and young adults, and on the implementation of integrated service delivery and interventions at local level. Towards 2016 makes a number of specific commitments in relation to Children’s Services Committees, including: ‘At a local level a multi-agency Children’s Committee will be established within each of the City/County Development Boards. These Committees will be chaired by the HSE who are best placed to drive this initiative to achieve coordinated and integrated services.’
One of the recommendations of the Ryan Report is that managers and staff of the various agencies working with vulnerable children and families need to cooperate more effectively to ensure children’s needs are met. The report notes that while many areas have excellent cooperative working relations, there is no operational mandate on agencies to cooperate in their planning or delivery of services. It also states that reducing risk is not just about responding to problems; it is also about avoiding the circumstances that create risk in the first place. The development of effective local Children’s Services Committees (CSCs) is cited as an example of an innovation that could address these issues.
Role of CSCs
Children’s Services Committees (CSCs) are a structure for bringing together a diverse group of agencies in local county areas to engage in joint planning of services for children. All major organisations and agencies working locally on behalf of children and young people will be represented on the CSCs. These committees are responsible for improving the lives of children and families at local and community level through integrated planning, working and service delivery. They also ensure that professionals and agencies work together to ensure that children and their families receive improved and accessible services. The overall purpose of the CSCs is to secure better developmental outcomes for children. CSCs do this by:
- coordinating the implementation of national and regional policies and strategies that relate to children, young people and families in the area covered by the CSC;
- planning and coordinating services for children in the area covered by the CSC in order to improve outcomes for children;
- eliminating fragmentation and duplication of services by ensuring more effective collaboration between children, young people and family services within the area;
- influencing the allocation of resources across the area covered by the CSC with a view to enabling the effective use of resources at local level;
- strengthening the decision-making capacity at local level.
Since 2007, 16 CSCs have been established (some of which are at various stages of development) in the following locations:
- Dublin City
- South Dublin
- Limerick City
- South Tipperary
The CSC Steering Group
The CSC Steering Group (CSC SG) is part of the governance structure that includes the NCSIG at national level, and which is designed to support the effective operation and practical implementation of the Children’s Services Committees at local level. The CSC SG membership includes the chairs of all CSCs and local authority and co-ordinator representatives. The CSC SG will support the practical implementation of the Children’s Services Committee’s Children and Young People’s Plans and will be accountable to, and will report to, the NCSIG on issues of significance to the development and implementation of national policy for children and young people.
The CSC Steering Group held its inaugural meeting on 19th June 2012 which was chaired by Jim Breslin, Secretary General.
The National Children’s Strategy Implementation Group (NCSIG)
The National Children’s Strategy Implementation Group (NCSIG) is chaired by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA). The NCSIG is responsible for developing CSCs as a national initiative and for providing guidance to CSCs, including identifying major policy or political issues which need to be addressed.
Members of the group are drawn from government departments and statutory agencies with responsibilities for the provision of services that support children and their development. It also includes representatives of An Garda Síochána and a number of local authorities.
The National Children's Strategy Implementation Group is chaired by the Director of the DCYA.
- A review of international evidence on interagency working, to inform the development of Children's Services Committees in Ireland
- Toolkit for the Development of a Committee (2nd Edition)
- Governance Framework 2011
- Template for the Children and Young People's Plan (2nd Edition)
- Working Together for Children's Communications Plan
- An introductory guide to the key terms and inter-agency initiatives in use in the Children's Services Committees in Ireland
- Learning from experience to inform the future - Findings emerging from the initial phase of the Children's Services Committees
- Strategic Plan for the Development and Implementation of the CSC Initiative
- Working Together for Children leaflet
The Report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, (the Ryan Report) can be accessed at www.childabusecommission.ie
For more information please contact us on 01 647 3177