In 2017, the Clare Children and Young People's Services Committee commissioned the All Ireland Research Observatory (AIRO) NUI Maynooth, to compile a baseline report using 2016 CSO data available. Our Report contains data pertaining to children and young people aged 0-24 years old living in Co. Clare. This report assisted in developing an evidence base for the identification of Clare CYPSC's key priority areas.To read our Key Priorities Click here.
Following on from an extensive consultation process a needs analysis report was commissioned in 2017/2018. This report identifies key priority areas for the CYPSC to focus on in the coming years. To read the report in full please on the blue link above.
”Explore, Play, Learn” is an interactive play based showcase for parents and their children, guided by Aistear, the National Curriculum Framework for children 0-6 years old. The event was designed to promote parent participation in their children’s learning and development. The event was coordinated by the Clare Children and Young People’s Services Committee in partnership with the Clare County Childcare Committee and Clare County Library Service as part of Tusla Public Awareness Week 2018.
Aistear is designed to support parents, early childhood practitioners and teachers in planning for and providing enriching, challenging and enjoyable learning opportunities for children. It can be used in different types of settings including children’s homes, childminding, day care, preschool and school settings. The child's first and most influential teacher is the parent. A child's ideas about education and its significance begin with the parent. Improving the effectiveness of the home as a learning environment is critical to promoting long-term school success.
In 2019, the Clare CYPSC is expanding on the learning from Explore, Play, Learn by producing a resource pack for local groups/practitioners which will outline all the resources necessary for groups to run their own Explore, Play, Learn sessions. Explore Play Learn will also be moving to Kilrush and Ennistymon in 2019 so parents in these areas can experience the showcases for themselves.
Please click on the blue "Explore Play Learn" link above to see highlights and feedback from the showcase events in a powerpoint format with parental feedback about the events. Enjoy our film of the event below. Over 200 parents and children particpated in the events. The Clare CYPSC are examining ways to sustaion the Explore, Play, Learn message in 2019.
For practitioners interested in planning their own Explore Play Learn event, please watch the second video entitled Panel Talk where you will learn from Early Years professionals as to how to develop your own parent-child interactive sessions.
Co. Clare CYPSC : Working towards a restorative county
The Connected Respected and Engaged subgroup identified retorative proactices as one of it's key actions to be contained in the Children and Young People's Plan. The aim was to support practitioners across sectors to manage conflict situations, either in the workplace or with clients, in a restorative fashion. Restorative Practices (RP) are an evidence-based set of skills that help develop and sustain strong and happy organisations and communities by actively developing good relationships, preventing the escalation of conflict and handling conflict and wrongdoing in a creative and healthy manner.
In November 2019, the Clare CYPSC hosted it's first restorative practices seminar in Co. Clare which was attended by over 100 practitioners from across the county. Below is a demo clip of the the event outlining the ethos behind restorative practices.
There is also a film clip below of the restorative play entitled "Face Off on the Frontline" which is a dramatic reinactment of how restorative practices could work in a client/practitioner relationship whereby conflict has occured.
The next step on the restorative journey for the Clare CYPSC is to offer certified RP training to practitioners in March 2020. In 2020, the CYPSC will lay the foundations for developing Clare's first restorative town.
Imagination Playgrounds: Bringing play back into children's lives
The Imagination Playground, a modern resource that assists in the development of children’s motor and cognitive skills, has been introduced to Co. Clare schools.This Heathy Ireland funded initiative has been introduced in response to concerning trends in childhood obesity and cognitive development. A recent DCU study entitled “Moving Well Being Well”, reported that a large proportion of children under ten had not mastered essential fundamental movement skills. Ireland also has significantly fewer high-achieving students in maths and science compared to other developed countries, according to Pisa (Programme for International Student Assessment). In an age of childhood obesity and children tethered to electronic consoles, playgrounds have rarely been more important.
Imagination Playground contains a wide variety of giant sized loose parts, including cubes, bricks, cogs, curves, and cylinders. They have holes and shapes that fit together in ways that allow the continuation of a child’s idea. Stored in large specialised containers, the playgrounds are mobile and can be transferred to create both indoor and outdoor play spaces.
Schools with on-site preschools, were invited to apply for an Imagination Playground and each application was assessed on its merits by an independent appraisal group. The most recent delivery of 7 units, which arrived in Clare on the 26th February 2020, brings the number of children accessing an Imagination Playground in the county to over 7,000.
'Healthy Ireland is delighted to support this Imagination Playground initiative in Clare, with funding from the Departments of Health and Children and Youth Affairs. It's so important for children's health, wellbeing and overall development that they are supported to be active and creative, including through play. All the local partners in Clare are to be congratulated in bringing this project to fruition which will have so many benefits for the children. We look forward to hearing and seeing all the fun they will have in these spaces and how their imaginations will be sparked through this initiative." Kate O' Flaherty, Head of Health and Wellbeing in the Department of Health
In order for children to thrive and learn we need to provide them with opportunities to play and to engage their imaginations. The imagination playground is a wonderful example of how children can be supported creatively and practically to do this. Tusla is grateful for the time that the Co. Clare CYPSC has invested in this project and for the funding provided through Healthy Ireland”
Dr. Caroline Cullen, Area Manager, Tusla Mid-West.
"Imagination Playground develops creativity and teamwork among children of all ages and abilities. They don't even realise that they are learning as they are having so much fun! ”. Ms. Sharon Dilger, Principal, Holy Family Jnr. School, Ennis.
The mission of Imagination Playground is to encourage child-directed, unstructured, creative “free play,” the kind of play that experts say is critical to a child’s intellectual, social, physical and emotional development. The message is clear; let’s bring play back into our children's lives.
National Play Day 2020 - Supporting children with additional needs
National Play Day is held every year on the 4th July. This year the Clare CYPSC in partnership with the HSE Children's Services, Clare Sports Partnership and Clare County Council came together to design a range of sensory/motor play kits for children with additional needs. The resources were specifically chosen by the Children's Services O.T to meet the specific abilities of each child. 50 families participated in the project whereby the kits were posted to their homes.
Animations for children 6-10 years old - Promoting rights & safety planning
Launched in 2021, the Limerick and Clare CYPSC collaborated on the development of two new Irish animations targetting children aged 6 - 9 years old. The aim of the animations is to explain complex issues such as children's rights and safety planning, to young children. The scripts were written by Clare CYPSC Coordinator Sinéad Collopy, after extensive collaboration with children through story boarding exercises.
Students from Limerick Institute of Technology were invited to work with a professional animator from Springbear Studios, to build the animations from the script and storyboards provided. Voice overs were provided by child volunteers from Limerick & Clare. The result of all this hard work are two engaging animations that can be used by practitioners engaging with young children to help explain a complex issue in a child friendly and engaging manner. They have also been uploaded onto the Tusla Changing Futures website so practitioners from all agencies have easy access to this wonderful resource.
Clare CYPSC invites Steve Biddulph virtually to Co. Clare in 2021
CYPSC Coordinator Sinéad Collopy welcoming Steve virtually to Co.Clare
In February 2021, the Clare CYPSC was delighted to invite international author and psychologist, Mr. Steve Biddulph to deliver two online master classes to parents and practitioners on the topics of Raising Boys and Raising Girls.
The response was huge with over 300 parents and practitioners logging in to listen to Steve. We'd love in the future to have Steve visit Co.Clare in person as his insights into boyhood and the challenges facing our girls were so insightful and practical.
WWW.CLARECAMPS.IE - PROMOTING ONLINE INTERAGENCY WORK
Throughout 2021, frontline work with children and young people was significantly curtailed due to the Covid pandemic. This was happening at a time that children needed an outlet more than ever. A host of local agencies came together to develop clarecamps.ie, an online platform whereby agencies uploaded videos of summer and easter camp activities for both primary and secondary school age children. The online camps were widely advertised through schools and with a poster and social media campaign and funded by the Clare CYPSC.
Clarecamps.ie also acted as the hosting platform for our 2021 National Play Day events. In partnership with Clare County Council and the Clare Sports Partnership, families across Clare were invited onto clarecamps.ie's dedicated Play-Day page where they found a range of fun & active family challenge videos.
In order to be crowned "Clare's Most Playful Family", parents selecetd a number of video challenges they would do with their children, recorded themselves doing the challenge, and posted them to the Clare CYPSC social media pages. We had a wondeful response and it was great to see so many families across the county having fun and playing together.
Virtual School Tours - Supporting Educational Transitions
When schools and pre-schools closed in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 emergency, children and young people missed out vital transition preparation they may have received during the last academic term.
In response to this, the Clare CYPSC embarked on a public tendering exercise and commissioned Galway based multi-media company iBrutes Media.
The multi-skilled team at iBrutes Media liaised with each school to design and build bespoke interactive virtual tours of their school facilities which the children can watch at home in advance of them starting in their new schools at the end of August 2020.
It was hoped that these tours would make the children more comfortable and familiar with the new spaces they will be learning in thus supporting this important educational transition. Five primary schools and four secondary schools participated in the project across Clare. An estimated 800 students and their parents will now have access online to their new buildings.
The interactive tour uses a range of technologies from animated teachers talking to the students, virtual pop ups of interesting materials in the respective classroom rooms, and sound effects mimicking a busy school environment to make the tour as authentic and realistic as possible.
Four secondary schools had bespoke tours made of their own facilities. Hundreds of incoming 1st years can now virtually walk through their new science labs, woodwork rooms, canteens and yards and listen to their teachers explaining what each subject is about and what’s contained within that space.
Five primary schools had bespoke tours made for their own facilities. Incoming Junior Infants attending these schools at the end of August can see their new classroom, where they will sit, where the toilets are, where they will hang their coats and learn about the school routine such as what to do when the school bell rings and what their yard will look like.
A generic tour of a digitally constructed Junior Infant classroom was built using 3 D modelling for dissemination to all other primary schools/pre-schools in Co. Clare. This generic tour highlights general points of interest that may be common to all Junior Infant classrooms. Click on the school links below to see the CYPSC virtual tours in action. All schools have uploaded their tours to their respective school websites which will benefit incoming students for years to come.
Holy Family Jnr School – Ennis Co. Clare
St. Tolas N.S – Shannon Co. Clare
CBS N.S – Ennis, Co. Clare
ScoilChriostRi N.S. – Ennis, Co. Clare
Clarecastle N.S. – Clarecastle, Co. Clare
Colaiste Mhuire – Ennis, Co. Clare
Edmund Rice College – Ennis, Co. Clare
St. Caimins Secondary School, - Shannon, Co. Clare
Ennis Community College, - Ennis, Co. Clare
Heads Up Clare - Mental Health Signposting Website goes live in 2021
In 2021, the Clare Children and Young People’s Services Committee is delighted to share a brand new online resource designed for young people in Clare aged 12-24 years, www.headsupclare.ie. Please click on the poster above to bring you directly to the website.
The Heads Up Clare website provides details of mental health services and other youth supports at local level for young people aged between 12-24 years old, as well as county wide and regional support services. The site also has an interactive element where young people and parents can learn about a variety of mental health issues.
The design element of the site was built in collaboration with young people involved in Clare Comhairle na nÓG. Funded by the Healthy Ireland Community Resilience Fund and led out locally bya working group under the Clare Children and Young People’s Services Committee ( CYPSC), we are proud to be signposting our young people in Clare to a place of support and understanding.
Post- Primary School Avoidance Toolkit
In November 2021 the Clare CYPSC launched their post-primary school avoidance toolkit.
A project that spanned `18 months, the toolkit was designed by a multi-agency consortium under the CYPSC for use by practitioners engaging with young people and parents both in a school setting and outside a school setting.
School avoiding behaviour is a complex issue that often requires a deeper understanding as to why the young person is not attending school and what is happening in that child's life. Supporting young people to stay in education is one of the core aims of the CYPSC Achieving in Learning and Development subgroup. To dowload your copy of the toolkit, please click on the link below. Hardcopies of the toolkit will be delivered to all secondary schools and Youth Reach centres in Clare as well as other frontline pprofessionals engaging with young people.
You can watch the webinar launch of the toolkit on the YouTube link below which outlines what is in the toolkit as well as an excellent presentation by Mr. Richard Egan, Senior Clinical Psychologist, NEPS, Co. Clare.
School Avoidance Toolkit ( Please click the link to download your copy or click the front cover image below )
Healthy Relationships Young People in Care Project 2021
To have been admitted to the care system as a child, significant harm must have been present in the home that posed a risk to the welfare of that child. Complex trauma exposure comes in many forms including childhood neglect or sexual abuse, witnessing or experiencing domestic or community violence, and or removal from home. Growing up in chaotic, unpredictable living situations with parents who are chaotic, addicted or unavailable are also sources of complex trauma (Winter, 2015).
Early life trauma in relationships can also leave children in care/care leavers in a position where they find it difficult to form relationships, and to trust adults, particularly where they have had poor relationships with their birth parents. It is likely that they will be scanning for the possibility of hurt, rejection and abandonment and may engage in a variety of means to protect themselves including self- sabotage, not asking for help, and not trusting those who offer the possibility of a safe and healthy relationship (Beek & Schofield, 2015).
The Barnardos report, Someone to Care, presented findings from in-depth interviews with 62 young care leavers. This identified that young people felt they needed someone to care about them, someone to talk to, someone to be with, someone to set standards, and someone to show them the way (Barnardos, 2014). Several other consultations with young people in care or who have left care indicate that young people see safe and healthy relationships as instrumental in their lives both in the care system and when they leave care.
IDENTIFYING A RESOURCE DEFECIT
An initial scoping exercise was undertaken by the Clare CYPSC Coordinator to ascertain as to whether or not there was a trauma informed, healthy relationships programme in place in Ireland tailored to the unique circumstances of children and young people in the care system. Supporting safe relationships was an identified priority area by the Clare CYPSC as part of their community consultation exercises in preparation for their Children’s Plan.
Initial discussions with internal Tusla staff in Children in Care teams in the Mid-West area were extremely positive and they were supportive of the idea of developing a practical resource for staff working with young people. They identified this as a current resource gap. At this stage, the Clare CYPSC, in partnership with the Limerick CYPSC, embarked on an extensive development phase developing an interagency working group with support from the Healthy Ireland Fund. Researchers were commissioned to consult with care leavers and young people in care in order to gather information from service users as to what they would like to see in any new resource developed. Social workers and youth workers were also invited to sumbit feedback as part of the consultation process.
ONLINE PLATFORM FOR THE HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS PROJECT
What Works, funded under Dormant Accounts, is an initiative designed by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth. Additional funding from What Works was provided to the project which enabled us to design an online platform where we could host the new healthy relationships course and benefit from using a range of multi-media formats. The platform is secured with user names and passwords and a registration system for both the young person and their key worker.
Watch the Zoom workshop in order to learn more about the background to the project and the content of each of the six modules on the course.