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The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs has been given the go ahead by the Government to commence the drafting of Heads and a General Scheme of a Bill to establish the Child and Family Support Agency.

The Programme for Government set out to “fundamentally reform the delivery of child protection services by removing child welfare and protection from the HSE and creating a dedicated Child Welfare and Protection Agency.”

Additionally, the Government also announced its decision to merge the existing Family Support Agency into the Child and Family Support Agency in the public service reform plan, published in November 2011.

The drafting of the Bill will give the new Agency the responsibilities currently undertaken by both the HSE Children and Family services and the Family Support Agency.

Last year the Minister Fitzgerald established a task force to assist the Department of Children and Youth Affairs in the work of preparing for the establishment of a Child and Family Support Agency. The task force were required they it to base its work on best practice in child welfare, family support and public administration consistent with the Government’s public sector reform agenda.

The final report of the Task Force is being circulated to Government prior to its publication at the end of this week and the recommendations will inform the development of the Heads and General Scheme to establish the Child and Family Support Agency. Any recommendations beyond those already provided the Programme for Government or relating to the Agency will be the subject of consideration and, in due course, recommendation to Government for incorporation in the draft legislation prior to its publication.