Time is running out for child and family service

by Rebecca Ryan
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The future of a service in Shankill for vulnerable families is becoming less certain as it has been unable to secure funding from the government.

The Cottage Home Child and Family Services (CHCFS) has been opened since 2012 working with more than 100 families and 150 children, which it says has kept children from going into State care.

The service has been self-funding for several years but said their funds are now running out.

Last November Dublin Gazette reported that the service needed urgent funding from the government to remain open.

Cottage Homes director and spokesperson, Don Briggs, told Dublin Gazette they are still “banging on doors” regarding the funding and that time is running out.

“We have little option but to further raise the stakes and unless there is some positive progress by month-end will be withdrawing the service from the social workers of Tusla from whom we get most referrals but no funding.

“These concerns have now crystallised to the extent that without progress before month-end the service will have to start winding up over the next few months,” said Mr Briggs.

Local councillor Hugh Lewis (PBP) said that funding for this service must be prioritised.

“The government must provide the funding needed as an absolute priority, to delay such funding and cause Cottage Homes to reduce its services in Shankill will have an immediately negative effect on the community.

“It makes zero social or economic sense not to provide the funding and allow the staff of Cottage Homes continue to provide their full range of support services into the future.

“The reality is that as the crisis in housing deepens by the week, the need for the Cottage Homes team has never been greater.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Children and Youth Affairs told Dublin Gazette that they provide funding to CHCFS’s residential care service in Shankill and do not currently fund its family support service, which CHFSS is seeking funding from Tusla.

“The Minister and representatives from Tusla met with representatives from the Cottage Home Service in December 2018. At this meeting, Tusla advised those in attendance that it was working on a Commissioning Plan for the area (Dublin South/ Dublin South East/ Wicklow area) with a completion date of April 2019 expected.

“The Commissioning Plan will outline the needs of the area and inform Tusla’s future commissioning of services in the area based on evidenced needs. “Tusla has invited the Cottage Home to be involved in stakeholder consultations on the commissioning process.”

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