Prevention is the Cure Ballymun wins Primary Care Centre of the Year Award, 2014

Parents, babies, Ballymun Primary Care team and youngballymun celebrated the Primary Care Centre of the Year Award 2014 for the delivery of the Parent Child Psychological Support programme with local Councilors, T.D.'s and Minister for Primary Care, Alex White T.D. in the Axis Arts Centre in Ballymun at an event hosted by HSE Area Manager, Mr. Des O'Flynn.

"Availed of by more than 1,300 families - over 70% of the population of newborns - the scale and scope of this service is truly impressive" noted Minister White as he congratulated the HSE, parents, and youngballymun for bringing their roles and resources together in an integrated approach that made the national policy for children - Brighter Outcomes, Brighter Futures - a reality in Ballymun.  He referenced the dual importance of ensuring services are based on the best evidence and at the same time ensuring that those services are delivered on a scale that meets community need. 

Minister White acknowledged the contributions of Atlantic Philanthropies and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs in resourcing the original Prevention and Early Intervention Programme (youngballymun, CDI Tallaght and Preparing for Life, Darndale) and observed the value of the PEIP experience and learning being available in the Area-Based Childhood programme to tackle child poverty, also funded by a partnership between Atlantic Philanthropies and Government.

Parents, HSE speech therapists, public health nurses, psychologists, and prevention and early intervention agency youngballymun have worked together to make the pioneering Parent-Child Psychological Support Programme (developed by Professor Angeles Cerezeo, University of Valencia) available to parents of all newborns in Ballymun, as the centre piece in a network of service developments for 0-3's Ready, Steady, Grow.

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.

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. 

"You, the parents, are providing the scaffolding that support your children's growth and development, and we need as service providers need to mind the minders of our children's development; we need to support them in their parenting role." said Professor Cerezo.

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. I have been supported to help Clodagh become the child she was meant to be."

youngballymun Chief Executive Eleanor McClorey, underlined the significance of the celebration, as a demonstration of the future direction for services to parents, and their 0-3's.

She emphasized the significance 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 welcomed the integration of skills and resources that was driving change for children in Ballymun through a whole community focus on child learning and wellbeing outcomes. 

HSE Area Manager Des O'Flynn stressed the importance of building a broader service implementation platform across Dublin North that would allow for the expansion of the Ready Steady Grow infant mental health strategy for 0-3's in Ballymun to other communities. He congratulated parents on their commitment to their babies' development and the practitioners who had been awarded certificates of competency in the delivery of the Parent Child Psychological Support programme.

Closing Eleanor Mc Clorey asked that 'the key message going out from today is that parents really matter, their relationship with their infants really matters, and that babies and toddlers development really matters. Today with parents, community services, our political representatives and the HSE we are celebrating the importance of babies and parents in community life.'