Introduction to the Department
The Department of Children and Youth Affairs was established on 2nd June 2011. The Government decided to create this dedicated Department and, in doing so, to consolidate a range of functions previously discharged by various Government Ministers. The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs sits at the Cabinet table.
The Department brings together a number of key areas of policy and provision for children, young people and families. It is tasked with driving forward a range of commitments outlined in the 2011 Programme for Government, as well as leading an ambitious reform agenda for children and family services.
Ms Elizabeth Canavan has been appointed Acting Secretary General at the Department of Children and Youth Affairs with effect from 10 September 2014. This acting position arises following the appointment of Mr Jim Breslin as Secretary General at the Department of Health.
This arrangement will continue pending the filling of the substantive post of the Secretary General position through the Top Level Appointments Commission (TLAC). The role of TLAC is to support Government policy on open recruitment and ensure that the recruitment and selection process for the most senior Civil Service posts is accessible to the widest pool of qualified candidates from all sectors.
The responsibilities of the Department encompass a wide range of policy and service activity, both direct and indirect, for children, young people and families in Ireland. We have a complex mandate, comprised of a number of separate, but inter-related 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. Comprehensive oversight of the Child and Family Agency, established in January 2014, is an integral element of this;
• 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 2014
• To publish the Children First Bill;
• To complete the development of National Child Detention Facilities;
• To support the work of the recently-established Child and Family Agency;
• To amend the Child Care Act 1991 in respect of Aftercare.
• To launch the new National Policy Framework for Children and Young People;
• To launch Ireland’s first ever Early Years Strategy and policy on ‘Family Support and Parenting';
• To continue quality improvements in early years and childcare services and to review existing targeted childcare supports;
• To enhance the preservation, management and access to adoption records.