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Award for innovative Ballymun programme

By editor - 11 June, 2014

Tidy compA pioneering support programme available to parents and babies in Ballymun has won the Primary Care Centre of the Year 2014.

The award will be presented to the Ballymun HSE Primary Care Team on Thursday morning (12 June) by Minister of State for Primary Care, Alex White.

Over 1300 families, speech therapists and public health nurses, in partnership with youngballymun (a prevention and early intervention agency) have all been working together in the pioneering Parent-Child Psychological Support Programme which focuses on prevention rather than cure and on a community rather than referral model.

In addition to providing more frequent and in-depth development checks, the programme has a particular focus exploring infants’ progress with their parents and offering support to parents regarding their own welfare.

The high uptake rate by 70% of Ballymun parents reflects the value parents place on the Parent-Child Psychological Support programme delivered by the HSE Public Health Nurse and Speech and Language Therapy services in partnership with youngballymun.

According to Eleanor McClorey, CEO of youngballymun, the award is good news not only for the Ballymun community but for wider society, “especially as, once again, we are confronted with how poorly we have treated children and parents in the past, particularly the most vulnerable, and we are being challenged to learn the necessary lessons so that we don’t continue to repeat the past.”

She pointed to the importance of proactively supporting baby and toddler development in the vital first three years of life and in supporting the relationship between parents and their babies.

“The key message from today is that parents really matter, and that babies and toddlers development really matters. This programme is part of a network of services for parents and their babies, (new born to three years old). Today with parents, community services and the HSE we are celebrating the importance of babies and parents in community life.”

Lee Redmond, a parent who participated in the programme with her daughter Clodagh, talked about the difference it had made for her and her baby.

“People say that you don’t get a book when you have your baby but it was like I did have a book because I had the programme. It makes you feel better as a parent and you can be more confident and therefore your child will do better. I really feel that Clodagh and I have a better relationship because of it.”

According to Eleanor McClorey CEO of youngballymun, “A secure attachment relationship between infants and their parents is the foundation of healthy social and emotional development throughout life and it’s also associated with better outcomes in relation to behaviour, language development, cognition and health.”

“If we can commit to services for 0-3’s throughout the country then we are truly committing to our children and their future. We are saying the abuses and neglect of the past cannot continue to be repeated.”

The Parent-Child Psychological Support Programme is part of youngballymun’s community-wide Infant Mental Health strategy, Ready Steady Grow.

youngballymun is part of the Area-based Child Poverty Initiative, jointly funded by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the Atlantic Philanthropies, to improve learning and wellbeing outcomes for children and families and to inform national policy and practice development.

Ballymun HSE Primary Care Centre and youngballymun jointly won Primary Care Centre of the Year at the CMG Healthcare Awards in March of this year for their implementation of the Parent-Child Psychological Support Programme.

The University of Valencía, is a clinic-based programme to support the healthy growth and development of infants with a particular focus on parent-child interactions, bonding, attachment and infant social and emotional development. There are six programme visits, at 3, 6, 9, 12, 15 and 18 months.

Each visit lasts 60-90 minutes, during which parents and their babies visit three stations which focus on babies’ physical development, babies’ social and emotional development and parents’ well-being.

The programme is integrated into mainstream service delivery of HSE child development clinics and is implemented by the HSE Public Health Nurse and Speech and Language Therapy services in partnership with youngballymun.

The Parent-Child Psychological Support Programme is one of the components of youngballymun’s community-wide Infant Mental Health service strategy, Ready Steady Grow.

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