Introduction to the DCYA
The Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) was established on 2nd June 2011. The new Department consolidates a range of functions which were previously responsibilities of the Minister for Health, the Minister for Education and Skills, the Minister for Justice and Law Reform and the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.
The Department brings together a number of key areas of policy and provision for children and young people including the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (OMCYA), the National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB), the Family Support Agency (FSA) and from January 2012 the detention schools operated by the Irish Youth Justice Service (IYJS). Two important organisations are also included in the overall structure: the Adoption Authority of Ireland and Office of the Ombudsman for Children (OCO).
The responsibilities of the Department encompass a wide range of policy and service activity, both direct and indirect, for children and young people in Ireland. We have a complex mandate, comprised of a number of separate, but interrelated strands:
- the direct provision of a range of universal and targeted services;
- ensuring high-quality arrangements are in place for focused interventions dealing with child welfare and protection, family support, adoption, school attendance and reducing youth crime;
- the harmonisation of policy and provision across Government and with a wide range of stakeholders to improve outcomes for children, young people and families.
Key Priorities for 2013
- Establishment of the Child and Family Support Agency in early 2013.
- Introduction of legislation to place the Children First National Guidance on a statutory footing, building on the extensive work of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health & Children in considering the draft heads of legislation earlier this year.
- Maintaining the free Pre-School Year in the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) and improving its quality as resources allow.
- Enacting legislation on adoption.
- Implementation of a new area based approach to child poverty as announced in Budget 2013.
- Construction of new children detention facilities at Oberstown, Lusk, Co. Dublin to ending the practice of sending children to St. Patrick’s Institution.
- Continuing preparation of the Government’s Children and Young People’s Policy Framework as well as Irelands’ first-ever National Early Years Strategy which will be published in 2013.
- Ireland assumed the Presidency of the European Union in January, 2013. Ireland’s national priority themes for the Youth Council Presidency aims to promote understanding of the contribution of quality youth work to young people’s development, well-being and social inclusion and maximise the potential of youth policy and youth services in attaining the goals of Europe 2020, in particular in addressing youth employment.
- Work on the detailed arrangements to support the role out of initiatives in relation to area based poverty and school age opportunities.