The threats facing Family Resource Centres (FRCs) in Donegal – and nationwide – are being highlighted by the Family Resource Centre National Forum, the national representative body for FRCs.
In the lead-up to the general election, the Forum has launched a campaign, #SupportingFRCs, calling on candidates to pledge their support for families and FRCs.
There are ten FRCs throughout Donegal in Letterkenny (Cara House), Donegal town (Donegal Family Resource Centre), Kilcooney (Downstrands), Dunfanaghy, Finn Valley, Mevagh, Moville, Pettigo, Raphoe and St Johnston.
According to the Family Resource Centre National Forum (FRCNF), the future of these FRCs is under threat because the Family Resource Centre programme does not have a dedicated government unit administering it.
The FRCNF is also highlighting the threat caused by insufficient core funding for FRCs; and the dilution and dismantling of their unique community development model of family support.
Three Campaign Asks
Chairperson of the Family Resource Centre National Forum, Clare Cashman, said: “In the lead-up to the 2020 general election, FRCs nationwide – through the FRCNF – are calling on candidates to pledge their support for our future. By supporting FRCs, candidates are supporting families right across their constituencies.
“We have three main asks for all candidates and political parties. Firstly, we want them to commit to establishing a dedicated government unit – permanently housed within an appropriate government department – to administer the Family Resource Centre programme.
“Secondly, we want candidates to commit to preserving the autonomy of FRCs, and the unique model of family supports we offer. FRCs focus on early intervention and prevention, and on supporting families from the ‘cradle to the grave’.
"We offer services and information that extend far beyond the needs of families with young children, working with older members of the community, minority groups, people with disabilities, and a range of diverse service-users.
“Thirdly, we are asking candidates to work to ensure all FRCs receive ring-fenced, multi-annual core funding – a minimum of €160,000 per FRC per year – and have at least three full-time staff-members. This would enable us to provide the full range of supports so desperately needed by the communities in which we work.”
Invite to Election Candidates
The FRCNF is distributing materials to all election candidates in Donegal with further details about their work and the #SupportingFRCs campaign. The Forum is inviting all election candidates to visit their local FRC to publicly sign a campaign pledge, committing to support for families and FRCs, if elected to Dáil Éireann.
“We are hoping for very strong support from Donegal candidates for this campaign,” said Cashman.
“The period since 2008 has been a difficult one for FRCs, with core funding down by over 20%, resulting in reduced services, salaries, and conditions. The communities in which we operate suffered considerable hardship during the recession, and other community supports were sharply reduced or eliminated. While this happened, demographic and social pressures grew.
“All of this means FRCs are now at a critical juncture. Without political commitment and will to copper-fasten our future, families and communities in Donegal – and nationwide – will suffer.”
The Family Resource Centre programme has been in operation for over 25 years, and is currently housed within Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. Further information is available at www.familyresource.ie.
If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Donegal Live editorial team any time. To contact Donegal Democrat and Donegal People's Press, email firstname.lastname@example.org To contact Donegal Post, email email@example.com To contact Inish Times, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.