Minister For Children Commits To Fight For More Funding

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone, has committed to fighting for more money to fund community based projects combatting child poverty.

Minister Zappone made the commitment as she confirmed €4.5 million to secure the continuation of 13 Area Based Childhood (ABC) Programmes until the end of this year.

The money will be used to fund services supporting the mental health of young people, family support, parenting programmes, child development and speech and language services.

Announcing the funding, Minister Zappone said: "The ABC programme is transforming the lives of children, young people and families in 13 communities.

"The range of services supported on the ground is wide. Ante-natal services, buddy programmes as well as literacy programmes, teacher training and early years supports to name but a few.

The funding now confirmed will ensure the continuation of services until December.

"However securing extra funding for existing community based programmes will be a priority in negotiations on both the estimates and Budget 2018.

"Developed with the support of both the Government and Atlantic Philanthropies the ABC programme has already provided €29.7m for these community projects.

Securing funding for next year is important to ensure there is no gap in supports.

"It will also allow us to plan for the future by carrying out a national evaluation to identify programmes, approaches and supports which deliver for children. That evaluation is already underway.

"Consultation with those in the frontline of the ABC services has already taken place. Their experience on the ground is a central part of that process.

"However I am also keen that the voices of children and young people are also heard. They must not be excluded.

I expect the result of the national evaluation next year. It will provide us with an evidenced based approach and a way forward.

Ending child poverty requires a whole of Government approach, and I look forward to sharing the results of the evaluation with Ministerial colleagues."


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