Donegal Children and Young People's Services Committee hosted a ‘Celebrating Achievement Event’ marking ten years inter-agency co-operation and collaboration, to improve outcomes for children and young people across the county.
Describing the event Anne Timony Meehan, Donegal CYPSC Co-ordinator said
'This event is about showcasing what has been achieved in the last decade, it is about acknowledging and applauding the commitment of those individuals who established and held on to their inter-agency relationships and continued to work together, throughout the recession, when there was often little or no support for them to do so'.
In his Opening Address, Mr Michael Gallagher Donegal CYPSC Chairperson and Tusla - Child and Family Agency Area Manager, welcomed the ninety delegates who represented the thirty six organisations of the Donegal CYPSC Family at this event held on the 27th April 2017.
Mr Gallagher made specific reference to the journey that the agencies and organisations that constituted CYPSC were on.
'The shared goal of improving the lives of children and young people and their families in the communities in which they live is a challenging one and is one that we will not be able to achieve working individually. When our agencies co-operate and work together the whole is greater than the sum of our parts. The journey that we are on is one where we need to support each other in achieving each other’s aims and in doing so achieve our own; and then the ultimate beneficiary will be our children and young people'.
Short presentations showcased the work of the Life Start Project, The Young Carers Project, The Parent Hub Website, Donegal Jigsaw, BookWorm Babies, Creating Lifelong Readers and READ DL. Maureen Kerr, Senior Executive Librarian, Donegal County Library and an active contributor in the Education and Learning Subcommittee of CYPSC said,
'I thoroughly enjoyed the Donegal CYPSC event this morning. It was great to meet and catch up with many of the colleagues that I have worked with on CYPSC projects in recent years, as well as meeting new faces who I hope to work with in the future. I particularly enjoyed the speakers from the Youth Council, who have achieved so much in a short space of time, and the young carer who spoke; who is an inspiration'.
Other collaborative initiatives highlighted, include implementing the Well-Being Guidelines in Schools, the roll out of Children First Training and Continuous Professional Development Briefings for those working in the Court System.
Margaret Doherty, Comhordaitheoir / Co-ordinator, Social Inclusion Community Activation Programme (SICAP) sa Ghaeltacht, commented
'Hearing peoples' personal reflections of challenges experienced as a result of the changes they were asked to make to already established services, and the rewarding success they found that to be on completion, was inspirational for those of us who are challenged in a similar way within our own work. While encouraged by the stories of the young carers, and the sense of their own individual development, grown through the support of many service providers, the key message of this celebration was evidenced in the partnership approach enabled through CYPSC.
For me, listening to the range of speakers and the stories they reflected was as much a celebration of the success of inter-agency collaboration as it was for the improved supports provided to the families'.
Eight members of the Donegal Youth Council gave the final presentation of the event demonstrating how much they had achieved in the six months since their election.
One Donegal Youth Councillor said
'It was a great day listening to all the presentations, the standout for us was Jigsaw as it is so relatable. It was also nice to see how we contribute to other organisations/committees. Another high point was to hear about a Young Carer’s perspective and experience of the Young Carer’s project.'
Wendy McCarry, Bluestack Special Needs Foundation commented
'I learned so much in the few hours I am extremely grateful'.
Kathleen McHugh, Donegal Family Resource Centre Co-ordinator, on behalf of the Donegal FRC Network said
'It was a very interesting and informative morning, well planned and presented. From a Family Resource Centre perspective it provided a valuable opportunity for networking with other childrens' services providers”
Donegal CYPSC is currently working on developing a three-year Children and Young People's Plan for County Donegal.
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