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Introduction to the Department

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs was established on 2nd June 2011.  The Government decided to create this dedicated Department and, in doing so, to consolidate a range of functions previously discharged by various Government Ministers. The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs sits at the Cabinet table.

The Department brings together a number of key areas of policy and provision for children, young people and families. It is tasked with driving forward a range of commitments outlined in the 2011 Programme for Government, as well as leading an ambitious reform agenda for children and family services.

Included within the Department’s remit are the following organisations: Tusla (the Child and Family Agency), the Adoption Authority of Ireland, Oberstown Children Detention Campus, and the Office of the Ombudsman for Children.


Secretary General

Dr Fergal Lynch was appointed Secretary General in the Department of Children and Youth Affairs on 14th January 2015. 

Dr. Lynch has been Deputy Secretary General of the Department of Health since 2012.  He has extensive experience in strategic planning, policy, evaluation of policy and service delivery and project management. Dr. Lynch holds a BA in Public Management, an M.Sc (Econ) and a Doctorate in Governance. He is married and comes from Dublin.



The responsibilities of the Department encompass a wide range of policy and service activity, both direct and indirect, for children, young people and families in Ireland. We have a complex mandate, comprised of a number of separate, but inter-related strands:
• the direct provision of a range of universal and targeted services;
• ensuring high-quality arrangements are in place for focused interventions dealing with child welfare and protection, family support, adoption, school attendance and reducing youth crime. Comprehensive oversight of the Child and Family Agency, established in January 2014, is an integral element of this;
• the harmonisation of policy and provision across Government and with a wide range of stakeholders to improve outcomes for children, young people and families.

Our Strategic Objectives:

·    Better Outcomes Brighter Futures is implemented;
·    High quality early years care and education is accessible and affordable;
·    Child welfare and protection systems are effective and responsive;
·    Evidence-based policy is promoted and supported, and children and young people participate in decisions that affect their lives;
·    High standards of compliance on governance and accountability are supported  and enforced; and
·    Performance is improved through the effective alignment of resources.


Quality Customer Service

Briefing for Minister - June 2017

Governance Framework

Department of Children and Youth Affairs Statement of Strategy 2016 - 2019 / Ráiteas Stratéise 2016-2019


Early Years Education Policy Unit

The Early Years Education Policy Unit in the Department of Education and Skills is co-located with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) to ensure that policy developments in the early childhood sector are developed within an overall strategic policy framework for children.

The Early Years Education Policy Unit is responsible for:

  • Implementation of Síolta, the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education,
  • Implementation of the Workforce Development Plan (As Gaeilge) for the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Sector,
  • Targeted early years interventions for children who experience disadvantage, including the Early Start Programme and the Rutland Street Project,
  • Provision of policy advice and representation on national and international ECCE policy development initiatives.


Síolta National Co-ordinator Recruitment Competition

Síolta is the National Early Years Education Quality Framework. The Department of Education and Skills has received funding from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to recruit a National Co-ordinator for Síolta. Please read the attached information booklet carefully before completing the application form below and sending to

Síolta National Co-ordinator Recruitment Competition Information/Application

Contact details:
Early Years
Department of Children and Youth Affairs,
Block 1, Miesian Plaza,
50-58 Baggot Street Lower,  
Dublin 2. D02 XWI4, Freepost F5055
Tel: 01 6473050/3250


For more information visit the Early Childhood/Pre-school section of the Department of Education and Skills website.