Press Release

Lenihan opens Family Support Conference

The Minister for Children, Mr Brian Lenihan TD, today (4 October 2002) opened the Family Support Conference at the Gleneagle Hotel, Killarney.

The focus in childcare services over the past decade has been on the protection and care of children who are at risk. Family support projects form a fundamental part of the Government´s Health Strategy which was launched late last year.

“In general, the family provides the best context for the rearing of children. This principle is clearly enshrined in international and national legislation and is a fundamental principle of the Irish Constitution,” said the Minister.

The Minister praised the efforts of those who work in residential homes or who provide foster care. He stressed that we must move away from providing support mechanisms only when dire need or crisis is reached. “To allow this crisis to develop”, said the Minister, “puts at risk the fundamental of each child’s life – that they be allowed to develop and achieve their true potential”.

The Minister underlined the Government´s commitment to the welfare of children and the protection of the family unit. “This commitment has already been shown by this Government this year with an additional €47M being allocated to the childcare area”, said the Minister.