Minister for Children and Youth Affairs
In 2011 Frances Fitzgerald was appointed Ireland's first ever Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.
Among her key priorities are the need to protect children by putting Children First on a statutory footing, to deliver a Children's Referendum, to establish a dedicated agency for Children and Family Services, to continue to offer a free pre-school year for children, to develop youth services throughout the country, to end the practice of sending under-18s to St Patricks Institution, to open inter-country adoptions with countries such as Vietnam and to improve adoption and fostering systems in Ireland.
Since taking office in March 2011 Minister Fitzgerald has;
• Published revised Children First Guidance
• Published legislation to strengthen child protection
• Secured funding to end the practice of sending under-18s to St. Patrick’s Institution over the next three years and has already announced the end of the practice of sending 16 year olds to St. Patrick’s
• Developing legislation to provide for the operation of the new Child and Family Support Agency and has been given approval for the transition of existing HSE child protection and welfare services to this Agency
• Allocated €6 million in Capital Grants Funding for childcare facilities around the country
• Announced €2.25 million in capital funding for youth cafes, youth projects and play facilities for 2012 and 2013
• Received Cabinet approval for the development of Ireland’s first ever National Early Years Strategy
• Launched the National Local Authority Play and Recreation Network
• Confirmed that a license to operate the 116000 Hotline for Missing Children has been allocated to the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
• Launched a new joint protocol aimed at protecting vulnerable children between jurisdictions North and South of the boarder
• Launched the Retail Ireland Childrenswear Guidelines which were prepared by Retail Ireland following a recommendation by the Minister
• Provided €2.5 million in the 2013 budget for a new Area Based Approach to child poverty initiative
• Launched a children in care consultation report
• Delivered €0.8 million expansion of services for young people in Athlone, Arklow, Dundalk and Wexford
• Announced the review of Out of Hours Services Pilot Programme
• Prioritised the development of a closer working relationship with many countries when it comes to adoption and travelled to Hanoi to meet with her Vietnamese counterparts to progress intercountry adoptions between the two countries. A bi-lateral agreement with Vietnam has since been signed
• Engaged with the Centre for Effective Services to undertake a high level review of implementation of the 2001 Youth Homelessness Strategy and to make recommendations on a new Implementation Framework to address youth homelessness over the next 5 years
• Committed to delivering 6,000 places in a new After-School Childcare Scheme
• Published research on obesity, discipline and self-concept among young Irish teenagers
• Named youth employment as a priority for her EU Youth Presidency 2013
• Met with Facebook to discuss the issue of Cyber Bullying and has made representations to the Latvian authorities in relation to concerns over ‘ask.fm’
• Launched a report on consultation with 66,705 children and young people
• Jointly published the Cloyne Report and personally took over the Chair of the Ryan Report Implementation Group. She has since delivered on the Ryan Report recommendation to recruitment an additional 60 social workers in 2011.
Frances is a T.D. elected by the constituency of Dublin Mid West. Frances previously served as Leader of the Opposition in the Senate on her election as a Senator to the 23rd Seanad and previously served as T.D. for Dublin South East for ten years. She gained a B.Soc. Science in U.C.D. and an M.SC. in Social Administration and Social Work in the London School of Economics. Prior to her election to the Dail Frances was a high profile Chair of the National Women’s Council of Ireland (1988-1992) and Vice President of the European Women’s Lobby.
As Chair of the National Women’s Council she initiated and served on the second Commission on Women, chairing the Employment Sub-Committee. She held the first conference on Women and Decision Making and championed the cause of introducing equality proofing mechanisms. Frances also led a number of high profile health campaigns. She has served on the boards of the Employment Equality Agency, Arthritis Ireland, The O’Reilly Theatre and the Breast Research Unit in St. Vincent’s Hospital. Frances was also Vice Chair of Europa Donna, the European breast cancer campaign.
Frances trained as a social worker and family therapist. She worked in the Mater Hospital, St James’ Hospital and Ballymun Child and Family Centre for ten years. She also worked in inner city communities in London and Dublin. She specialised in family-work including adoption and fostering. She also lectured in social work in Adult Education Courses and in Trinity College, Dublin.
Since her first election to the Dail, Frances has been appointed to six different portfolios under three different Fine Gael leaders - John Bruton, Michael Noonan and Enda Kenny. On her first day in the Dail Frances was appointed to the Fine Gael front bench as Spokesperson on Arts, Culture and theGaeltacht and went on to serve as Spokesperson on Defence, Social Community & Family Affairs, Equality & Family Affairs, Social Welfare and served as Spokesperson Health and Children in the Senate.
Frances has served on various Dail and Seanad committees including Justice, Health, the Committee on the Constitution, the National and Economic Social Forum, the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation, Social Affairs and Health. Frances was also a member of the Joint Committee on the Constitutional Amendment on Children and co-authored several Oireachtas Committee reports. She recently co-founded the first ever Cross Party Group on Mental Health and worked closely with Amnesty International to help break down the stigmas associated with mental health issues. Frances has campaigned strongly on mental health, special needs, social policy and equality issues and worked professionally in these areas.
Frances is married and has three sons in their twenties, an actor, a trainee accountant and a student.
|Name||Frances Fitzgerald (FG) [Dublin Mid West]|
|Ministerial Office||Department of Children and Youth Affairs
43 - 49 Mespil Road
|Constituency Office||9 Main Street
|Ministerial Office||Tel: (01) 647 3000 Fax: (01) 647 3101|
|Constituency Office||(01) 457 7712|
|Local Office||(01) 284 6050|
|Education||The London School of Economics
University College Dublin