Budget 2018 Fails to address Family Resource Centres crisis
Budget 2018 has failed to address the long-term crisis in funding for Family Resource Centres (FRC) which are struggling to provide frontline services and cope with increased overheads, according to the SIPTU National FRC Committee.
There are 109 FRCs providing frontline services to families in some of Ireland’s most disadvantaged communities. Their work supports TUSLA (the Child and Family Agency) and is funded by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.
From 2008 to 2012, the budgets of FRCs were systematically reduced by up to 20% while voluntary boards of management and staff were asked to do ‘more with less’. Budget 2018 has failed to address these historical cutbacks which has left voluntary boards of management reliant on fundraising to keep the lights on and doors open.
SIPTU Sector Organiser Darragh O’Connor said: “The recent budget provided for an allocation of €1.76 million to open 11 new Family Resource Centres. However, the current FRCs are left struggling to deliver services due to years of cuts and underfunding.”
He added: “ The FRCs have been asked to take on additional work such as providing parenting programmes for families at risk. They are also being requested to take some of the caseloads from over-stretched social workers. Indeed, many FRCs have no dedicated staff to implement the programmes which TUSLA has requested from them. In this regard, TUSLA are failing the parents and vulnerable children for whom they are obliged to provide services. The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone must address the funding crisis in the existing FRCs before opening new ones.”
The National SIPTU FRC Committee is calling on the minister to meet with a delegation from the union and voluntary boards of management and staff to discuss solutions to the current crisis.