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For Oral Answer on : 14/12/2023
Question Number(s): 125 Question Reference(s): 55808/23
Department: Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
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QUESTION


To ask the Minister for Children; Equality; Disability; Integration and Youth to outline his policy with respect to youth services; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY


My Department is making a significant investment in youth services in 2024, building on the increases in recent years and securing the achievements into the future.

From 2020 to Budget 2024, current Exchequer funding for youth services and programmes increased from €61.789 million to €77.95 million, a 26% increase overall.

My Department provides universal funding on an annual basis to 30 national and major regional voluntary organisations through the Youth Service Grant Scheme. This funding is intended to ensure the emergence, promotion, growth and development of youth organisations with distinctive philosophies and programmes aimed at the social education of young people. Over €14 million is being provided to YSGS funded organisations in 2024.

My Department’s UBU Your Place Your Space scheme is a single youth funding scheme that targets disadvantaged young people with evidence informed interventions and services that will secure good outcomes. UBU Your Place Your Space provides funding to over 250 targeted youth services across 16 Education and Training Boards. Funded organisations support young people who are marginalised, disadvantaged, or vulnerable. Over €47 million is being provided for UBU in 2024.

My Department is developing a new Action Plan for Youth Services in consultation with young people and the national youth organisations which is expected to be in place early next year. This plan includes effective outreach to those who may not even be aware of services, measures to ensure that youth workers and volunteers have the supports and skills they need to deliver inclusive approaches, and stronger measurement tools so that we can monitor participation of different cohorts in youth services and identify the best approaches to delivering the best outcomes for them.

Young Ireland: The National Policy Framework for Children and Young People 2023-2028, was launched on 21 November 2023. Youth service actions being led by my Department include:

  1. Develop and implement a Youth Services Action Plan to provide a strategic direction for the delivery of youth services over the lifetime of this Framework.

    2. Support the provision of high-quality and inclusive youth opportunities, spaces and services, by providing funding, guidance and other supports to organisations who deliver youth services.

    3. Implement a robust data collection and evaluation system so that young people’s participation in youth services, and in particular, the inclusion of young people who are marginalised, vulnerable or disadvantaged can be measured and enhanced.

    4. Ensure that young people have a role in the development and delivery of youth services.

    5. Continue to develop the UBU Your Place Your Space targeted services funding scheme, including by means of an external review ahead of the 2027 application cycle.