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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.

Included within the Department’s remit are the following organisations: the Child and Family Agency, the Adoption Authority of Ireland and the Office of the Ombudsman for Children.


Secretary General

Dr Fergal Lynch was appointed Secretary General in the Department of Children and Youth Affairs on 14th January 2015. 

Dr. Lynch has been Deputy Secretary General of the Department of Health since 2012.  He has extensive experience in strategic planning, policy, evaluation of policy and service delivery and project management. Dr. Lynch holds a BA in Public Management, an M.Sc (Econ) and a Doctorate in Governance. He is married and comes from Dublin.


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.


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