Press Release

Minister Lenihan opens National Springboard Conference in Kilkenny

The Minister for Children, Mr Brian Lenihan T.D., at the Department of Health and Children, today, Wednesday 5th February 2003, opened a two day National Springboard Conference in Kilkenny. Springboard is a Government initiative to support vulnerable families. It aims to support families which are experiencing difficulties in providing adequate care and protection for their children through community based centres which work in partnership with local service providers and the families themselves.

The Minister said that Springboard is one a number of a number of family support projects which this Government is supporting and funding. The Minister said that the purpose of the Conference was to build on the success of the Springboard Project.

The Minister said that “in 2002, all existing 17 pilot Springboard projects were continued as a mainstream service by the health boards. It is hoped that existing projects will keep their committed, highly experienced staff and go on to strengthen their responsiveness and effectiveness of the Springboard services. The initiative has been expanded by four new Springboard projects since 2002. Annual funding of €7.6M is made available to support the Springboard projects to health boards”.

The Minister added that he believes that there are still too many children coming into care. “We are spending a lot of money on alternative care services for children. It is not just in the best interests of children that they remain within their family if at all possible, it also makes good economic sense to provide home based accessible support as needed”, the Minister said.