The Department of Children and Youth Affairs is firmly committed to the transformation of Ireland’s children and family services. At the heart of this reform programme is the creation of a new Child and Family Agency.
The establishment of the Agency will bring a dedicated focus to child protection, family support and other key children’s services for the first time in the history of the State. The Agency will be as broadly based as possible and will include services that (i) may prevent problems arising for a family in the first instance (ii) identify problems and provide supports at an early stage and (iii) assist children and families in managing serious problems requiring specialised interventions beyond their own resources.
Please see Child and Family Agency website http://www.tusla.ie/
Legislation - Child and Family Agency Act 2013
The Child and Family Agency Act 2013 (No. 40 of 2013) established the Child and Family Agency. The Agency was established with effect from 1 January 2014.
The establishment of Ireland’s first dedicated Child and Family Agency is a key Programme for Government commitment and represents an essential response to recent reports on child protection failings, including inconsistency and fragmentation in service provision.
Child and family services will now be the sole focus of a single dedicated State agency, overseen by a single dedicated government Department.
The Agency will bring together key services relevant to children and families including;
- child protection and welfare services currently operated by the HSE,
- the Family Support Agency,
- the National Educational Welfare Board.
The establishment of the Agency is one of the largest and most ambitious public sector reforms being undertaken by this Government. It will involve the bringing together of over 4,000 staff and a budget of over €550 million from three existing bodies.
The Agency will operate within a strong framework of public accountability and creates direct lines of accountability from area manager to CEO. Significant work has already been undertaken at an operational and logistical level to prepare for the establishment of the Agency, including the recruitment of a senior management team, and the disaggregation of budgets.
The legislation is comprehensive and provides for the subsuming of functions from three separate agencies and reassigns, under law, the sensitive and complex legal responsibilities which arise in relation to the care and protection of children and the promotion of their welfare.
While the legislative process is completed, all necessary organisational preparations are continuing in parallel.
The preparations are being delivered by a Project Team led by the Programme Director and CEO Designate, Mr. Gordon Jeyes and with participation from this Department, the NEWB, the FSA and HSE Children and Family Services. The work is overseen by a high level group chaired by the Secretary General of this Department and including representatives of the Departments of Health and Public Expenditure and Reform, the HSE and the incoming management team of the new Agency.
Appointments to the Board of the Family Support Agency
In accordance with the Government’s decision to widen the opportunity for board membership of State Bodies, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Minister Fitzgerald invited expressions of interest from those interested in being appointed to the Board of the Family Support Agency. The Family Support Agency is one of the agencies which will be merged into the new Child and Family Agency. The new Family Support Agency Board will be expected to provide oversight and guidance in relation to the organisational preparations for the establishment of the Child and Family Agency.
Chair of the Child and Family Agency
As part of the preparatory work being done in advance of the formal establishment of the new Agency, the Government in April, 2013 approved, on Minister Fitzgerald’s recommendation, the appointment of Ms. Norah Gibbons as first Chairperson of the Board of the Agency. The Government has also confirmed the name of the new body will be the 'Child & Family Agency'.
Read press release on the appointment
Task Force on the establishment of the Child and Family Support Agency
Minister Frances Fitzgerald TD established the Task Force on the Child and Family Support Agency in September 2011 in response to the Programme for Government commitment to “fundamentally reform the delivery of child protection services by removing child welfare and protection from the HSE and creating a dedicated Child Welfare and Protection Agency, reforming the model of service delivery and improving accountability to the Dáil”. The Task Force Report was published in July 2012.
Further information may be accessed by clicking on the links below:
Minister’s Fitzgerald’s speech at the publication of the Report of the Task Force on the Child and Family Support Agency
Press Release on the publication of the Report of the Task Force on the Child and Family Support Agency
Minister Fitzgerald speaking in Dáil Éireann in response to Parliamentary Questions regarding the establishment of the Agency (13th February 2013)
Minister Fitzgerald’s remarks at the recent COFACE conference on Vulnerable Families (4th February 2013)
Minister Fitzgerald announced on 17th July 2012 that she had received Government approval for the drafting of Heads and a General Scheme of a Bill to establish the Child and Family Agency.
In November 2012 the Government approved the General Scheme and Heads of the Child and Family Agency Bill.
The Government decided that from its establishment the Child and Family Agency will have service responsibility for: