Fingal Parenting Initiative: Working together through CYPSC to support families in Fingal.
Fingal is Ireland’s youngest and fastest growing county. It has a diverse population, with families of different levels of income living in the area. All families benefit from good parenting and childcare support. Recognising this, Fingal CYPSC decided to establish the Fingal Parenting Initiative.
The Fingal Parenting Initiative (FPI) was governed by an interagency consortium of the Fingal Children’s Services Committee [now Fingal Children and Young People’s Services Committee], Fingal County Childcare Committee, the Health Service Executive and Blanchardstown Area Partnership. The FPI was a subgroup of Fingal CYPSC and brought together service providers from across the county including pre-school providers, public health nurses, social work teams, family resource centres and community development workers. The coordinator of the programme worked tirelessly to strengthen the capacity of childcare providers in the county, and also to improve parenting supports. This initiative was funded under the National Early Years Access Initiative. Fingal County Childcare Committee was the lead agency for the FPI from 2011-2014.
The Fingal Parenting Initiative used a universal approach to working with parents. This means that services were offered to all parents in Fingal, rather than just those with specific needs. This is because all parents can benefit from practical stress-relieving support and guidance. Information, advice and on-going support was made available to all parents in Fingal. Eleven public workshops were organised over the course of the initiative, and over 780 parents gathered to learn about topics that they themselves had identified as being important. For example being a responsive parent, child-centred play and communication, and managing tantrums, misbehaviour and problems.
“I have learned to stop and pause and be more tuned into my son. I feel more confident as a parent. I now enjoy my time spent with my son.” (Parent of pre-schooler.)
In addition, the Fingal Parenting Initiative also invited all parents in Fingal to participate in the Parents Plus Early Years programme; a practical and positive course for parents developed in Ireland. Evaluations of Parents Plus have shown that the programme develops confidence and reduces stress for parents; and improves children’s learning, language and social development, while reducing behaviour problems. Eighty early years educators working in childcare services in the county were trained to deliver the Parents Plus programme alonside accredited facilitators. Over 1,000 parents attended 87 courses.
Results from the Fingal Parenting Initiative show that the initiative has had a huge impact on families in Fingal. These results are evidenced in an evaluation carried out by Parents Plus demonstrating that participating parents felt reduced stress and increased confidence and well-being.
Parents who participated in the Fingal Parents Initiative felt that their ability to manage their roles as parents had improved. The emphasis of the initiative was on supporting all parents across the county. The success of the initiative could not have happened without interagency working. Services were planned together, and professionals working with parents were able to, and knew who to refer parents to if they had specific needs.
“My child stopped having tantrums, she told me today that I am a much better mummy.” (Parent of pre-schooler.)
While funding for the Fingal Parenting Initiative ended in 2014, quality childcare and parenting supports are continuing to be delivered in a joined-up way by the Fingal County Childcare Committee and Blanchardstown Area Partnership. The Fingal Parenting Initiative, two-day training workshop to deliver the 7-week Parents Plus Early Years programme was offered to participating preschool and early years practitioners in Fingal. By the end of the initiative, twenty-two facilitators had achieved full accreditation to deliver Parents Plus Early Years. This has built enduring local Parents Plus capacity so that the programme continues to be delivered in the county.
As a vehicle for interagency working, Fingal CYPSC, Fingal County Childcare Committee and the Blanchardstown Area Partnership played an important role in the successes of the Fingal Parenting Initiative. Interagency collaboration was a core requirement for the funding and Fingal CYPSC provided the necessary solid collaborative foundation. The CYPSC provided leadership, expertise and support to the organisations delivering the initiative every step of the way. The Fingal Parenting Initiative is an example of how local services can come together under the structure of CYPSC to make lasting changes for families.
For more information:
Click here to visit Fingal County Childcare Committee
Click here to read about the Parents Plus Early Years Programme
Click here to find out more about Fingal CYPSC
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