Dáil Éireann - Volume 642 - 04 December, 2007
Written Answers. - Family Support Services.
Deputy Enda Kenny Deputy Enda Kenny
Deputy Enda Kenny asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if he will provide a progress report on the welfare reforms outlined in the Programme for Government for family support; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32277/07]
Deputy Martin Cullen Deputy Martin Cullen
Deputy Martin Cullen: I understand that the Deputy is seeking information on the commitment outlined in the programme for Government to continue to fully resource the Family Support Agency and its programmes.
The Family Support Agency was established on 6 May 2003 by the Minister for Social and Family Affairs and brings together programmes and services to support families introduced by the Government in recent years. Its mission is to promote family and community well being through the provision of appropriate supports and services to families.
The Family Support Agency is responsible for over €35million of Government funding to support families in 2007. This represents an increase  of 25% in funding year-on-year and is more than 40% up on the funding allocated for 2004.
The Agency itself is going from strength to strength. It achieved the target set in the last National Development Programme with the achievement of 100 family resource centres around the country. Indeed, the NDP for 2007-2012 will see a further expansion of the Family Resource Centre programme.
The Agency is also responsible for the provision of grant aid to voluntary organisations providing marriage, child and bereavement counselling and supports. For 2007, almost €10 million was provided by the Family Support Agency and a total of 561 organisations countrywide received funding under the scheme. This record investment — an increase of one third in just 4 years — has been informed by research launched earlier this year which indicated that up to 70,000 people across the country benefit each year from counselling funded by the Family Support Agency.
The Family Support Agency has also overseen the expansion of the national Family Mediation service which now has 16 centres nationally and assists over 1,500 couples each year.
I am committed to further supporting the excellent work of the Family Support Agency and I am confident that the Agency will continue to have the resources to further expand its services to the benefit of families across Ireland.
Dáil Éireann 642 Written Answers. Family Support Services.