Presentation to the Committee On Children And Youth Affairs Sharon Foley, MSc, MA Designate Chairperson for the Family Support Agency Establishment and Services The Family Support Agency Act, 2001 provided for the establishment of the Family Support Agency. Formally established on the 6th of May 2003, the Family Support Agency has a statutory obligation to support, promote and develop the provision of accessible community based support services for families. The services for which the Agency currently has responsibility are :• Family Resource Centre Programme • Counselling Grants Scheme • Research • Information Tremendous work carried out by former CEO, former Chairperson, Board and staff over last 9 years. Budget and Staffing • The Agency’s budget for 2012 is €26.465m, down €6.218m (19%) since 2008. • Some 93% of the 2012 budget relates directly to the support and development of community based support services for families • Some 6% of the budget relates to Pay and Administration, the balance relates to Research and Information • The FSA currently has 12 staff, a decrease of 6 (33%) since 2008 • Under the Employment Control Framework, the staffing target for the FSA by the end of 2012 is 13 Key Challenges and Priorities For The Agency In 2012 • • • • • Transition into Child and Family Support Agency Support to acting CEO and staff over year as transition happens Ensuring that the FRC’s and counselling programmes are strong and well positioned for transition to the new Child and Family Support Agency Reduction in budgets for Family Resource Centre Programme and Counselling Grants over next 3 years Meeting its commitments in the Croke Park Agreement Family and Community Services Resource Centre (FRC) Programme The aim of the Family Resource Centre Programme is to combat disadvantage by providing support to families and communities from locations within communities. There are now 107 FRC’s throughout the country. Key services provided by FRC’s include: •Information, advice and support for groups and families at local level. •Assistance to community groups (such as training and the shared use of facilities). •Education courses and training opportunities. •Childcare facilities for those attending courses provided by the FRC. •After-school clubs Support Provided under the Programme by the FSA Financial assistance to assist with the staffing and equipping of Centres • • • • 1994 - £250,000 2007 - €18.31 million 2008 - €21.46 million 2012 - €15.102 million Direct support and advice to centres from FSA staff Bring FRCs together as a national programme and support collective learning Strengths of the FRC Programme • • • • • EARLY INTERVENTION & SUPPORT to vulnerable families and communities USE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT APPROACH - Emphasis on involvement of local communities in management and delivery of programme COST EFFECTIVE AND COMPLEMENTARY to statutory based forms of family support SUSTAINABILITY - Volunteers accumulate a wealth of skills, knowledge and experience which contributes to the development of capacity within local communities and to a legacy of community leadership INTEGRATION - FRCs play a key role in delivering integrated services. In Many cases FRCs initiate and participate in multiagency partnerships e.g. HSE, Local Authorities, VECs, to meet needs and maximise resources Priorities over next 12 months • Transition into new Child and Family Support Agency • Emphasis on prevention and early family support within disadvantaged communities under new Child and Family Support Agency • Strategic positioning of the importance of early family intervention through direct provision of community support within the work of the new agency. • Continued rollout of new Strategic Framework for Family Support within the FRC Programme, aligned with national objectives and outcomes for family support services. Scheme of Grants to Voluntary Organisations providing Marriage, Child and Bereavement Counselling Services • Set up in the 1990s to provide counselling to couples to prevent marital breakdown. • Later extended to include counselling to children whose parents have – – • separated, to the provision of marriage preparation courses and to bereavement Counselling and support on the death of a family member. Support Provided under the Programme by the FSA – – – – – 1993 - £300,000 1996 - £900,000 2003 - €7.009 million 2010 - €11.406 million 2012 - €9.413 million Allocation Of Counselling Grant Funding In 2012 Under the Report on Public Expenditure Reform the budget for the Counselling Grant Scheme is to reduce by 12% each year from 2012 to 2014. Accordingly the 2012 budget is down 12% on the 2011 budget. The is allocated as follows :– – – – - Marriage / Relationship Counselling - €5,222,276 Marriage Preparation courses - €625,983 Child Counselling – €1,347,073 Bereavement Counselling /Support €2,130,150 Some key achievements • Funding to some 608 voluntary and community organisations providing counselling services, of which 28 received funding on a multi-annual basis • National resource and network of some 600 voluntary and community based centres. Not-for-profit centres providing lowcost service which is not available elsewhere • Support for tender and roll-out of new data-base for counselling groups to enhance data collection and analysis, in association with the Association of Agency-Based Counselling in Ireland (AACI). To be launched in early 2012 • Partnership with the Irish Hospice Foundation on the development of a Child Bereavement Network Strengths Of The Counselling Grants Scheme • ASSISTS families and their members deal with difficult periods which they may experience. • Focuses on the development of support services IN THE COMMUNITY for families • VALUE FOR MONEY – Administration, Capital and Operational Costs met by organisations. • REACH - Provision of counselling and support services TO OVER 70,000 PEOPLE ANNUALLY, some 250,000 hours face-to-face, at an approx. cost of €200 per client • QUALITY - Accreditation by AACI (Association of Agency-Based Counselling In Ireland) • Unique PARTNERSHIP between Voluntary Sector and the State Referrals from Primary Care, HSE, Legal Aid, Citizens Advice, Mental Health, Self Priorities over next 12 months • Transition into new Child and Family Support Agency • Emphasis on the value of family support via counselling within community setting under new Child and Family Support Agency with future directions provided on how to improve quality • Consideration to be given to the development of the provision of pre-parenting counselling as identified in the ESRI report on Family Trends which the FSA funded • Currently working with the Irish Hospice Foundation in relation to Bereavement Support for Children Information • The FSA has a statutory obligation to promote and disseminate information about issues in relation to marriage and relationships education, parenting and family responsibilities and related matters. • The Agency has developed a number of collaborative relationships with other organisations, including – – – Barnardos One Family Treoir Research function • The FSA’s Research Unit is a key component within the wider spectrum of Child and Family Support services. Role of Research • – – – • • driving initiatives, informing work and identifying new areas of action Engaging the sector Meeting economic/social infrastructure information deficits by way of commissioned research devoted to the continuing promotion of child and family well-being. On-line Database of Family Research - www.fsa.ie. 2012 – – – Family Relationships and Family Well-being: A study of the families of nine year- olds in Ireland. Growing Up in a One-Parent Family: Family structure, family well-being and child outcomes. Family Well-being in Difficult Times: A Model of Factors Influencing the Well- being of Families on Limited Incomes in Ireland. Croke Park Agreement FSA Action Plan Better Human Resource Management • Management of staff reductions in 2012, 2013 and 2014 through the re-deployment of staff and work. Absence • Management to form part of 2012 PMDS Better Business Process and Service Delivery for Citizen • FSA has requested that ICT Support and Services be supplied by/through Parent Department through an agreed Service Level Agreement • Counselling Grants Scheme - Review of Multi-Annual Funded Counselling Organisations (60). Objective is to improve accountability within the Scheme, in terms of service provision and finance. • FRC Programme - Streamline the software-based selfevaluation system for FRC Programme to link reporting more closely with national objectives and outcomes for family support services Sharon Foley, MSc, MA • Experience – Former CEO of Crisis Pregnancy Agency – Current CEO of Irish Hospice Foundation – Senior manager in health services & Department of health – health promotion – 5 years experience in community development – Govt appointed lay member of Health and Social Care professionals Council, chairperson of its audit & governance committee • Skills – Proven leadership experience and skills – influencing, negotiating, building and maintaining strategic partnerships. – Extensive experience in the development of strategic plans and policies – Considerable personal experience of senior management roles in the public sector, including financial management, within the public and charitable sector arenas Final notes • Thank you for your time and consideration • Strong expertise of staff in Agency - challenge is how to ensure that this valuable asset transfers to new Body and shapes future provision of services for children and families. • Looking for on-going support and advocacy for family support and counselling • Pleased to hear the views and experiences of members on the work of the local programmes?