Dáil Éireann - Volume 654 - 15 May, 2008

Written Answers. - National Drugs Strategy.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if his attention has been drawn to the difficulties faced by grandparents who become the primary carer of their grandchildren as a result of their own child’s drug addiction; and the steps he will take and the funding that will be made available to support these grandparents. [18862/08]

  Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: As the Deputy will be aware, issues regarding the safety or welfare of children are a matter for my colleague, Mary Harney T.D., Minister for Health and Children.

However, I am very aware that problem drug use has a devastating effect on families with grandparents, in some instances, taking on the parenting roles to their grandchildren.

In this context, the Deputy should note that family support has been identified as a priority under the National Drugs Strategy and many drugs projects that are funded by my Department through the Local and Regional Drugs Task Force areas focus on family support issues.

With regard to grandparents, the CUMAS project, which was approved €190,000 from my Department this year through the Clondalkin Local Drugs Task Force, provides support to parents, grandparents, siblings and children of drug users and to young drug users themselves. Of this funding, €30,000 focuses on providing child care, respite and family therapy costs for parents and grandparents living with addictions.

[602] Furthermore, €150,000 from my Department was approved for the Family Support Network in 2007 to facilitate improved links and partnerships between the families of problem drug users and others involved in the National Drugs Strategy. The Network has been involved on an ongoing basis in the active support of grandparents or extended family members who take on the role of caring for the children of drug users. In 2004 the Network published “Supporting Grandparents . . . Supporting Children” with funding from my Department.

Finally, the Report of the Working Group on Drugs Rehabilitation, which was published last year, recognised that families of problem drug users have the potential to be a key element to the rehabilitative effort. The recommendations of that Report will be implemented as part of the Programme for Government.