Health and Development

Support from the Start

Many of the most costly and intractable health, mental health and child protection issues occur because we are not providing children and their parents with the appropriate information, active promotion and support services to foster healthy development from pregnancy, birth, infancy and throughout childhood. As a result we do not have in place a systematic approach to the early appraisal of risk.  An area-based Prevention and Early Intervention strategy, such as youngballymun, fundamentally challenges the present focus on remedial, crisis-driven and costly interventions late in childhood and proactively advocates and models evidence-based prevention and early intervention in health, community and education services across the life cycle as a strategy to tackle child poverty and promote child health and welfare.

Do What Works

There is rigourous, well documented and extensive international evidence to demonstrate the long term effects of early childhood experiences on life outcomes in health, education, employment, social welfare dependency, child abuse and other forms of violent crime.  Evidence-based interventions with infants, children, young people and families to promote secure attachment, age-appropriate social and emotional development, positive protective relationships, oral language and literacy skills and mental health are important investments that contribute to child health and welfare in the short terms and to their life long health and well being.  The earlier in the life cycle the strategy begins, the more cost-effective the investment, because service outcomes are more assured.

 

Child Welfare and Protection

Children grow up in many different circumstances, with varying early life opportunities and variable exposure to risk.  Providing a supportive and nurturing environment for children to flourish in and ensuring that children are adequately supported in healthy development is a challenge and a responsibility for every parent - it is also a challenge and responsibility for Government and for policy makers.  Some parents may require supports and services that help offset personal and/or systemic and environmental risk factors that may compromise optimal developmental outcomes.  A much smaller number may need active intervention by specialist services to address challenges and ensure children's welfare, protection and wellbeing.  youngballymun is tiered service strategy, a model of differential response, and a model of targetted universal provision for communities where all children because of socio-economic and environmental factors impacting on their area have higher levels of risk to their holistic development, welfare and ultimately protection. 

Prepared Parents

youngballymun promotes children's health, development and welfare through a range of initiatives across the life-cycle with parents to promote prepared and positive parenting, and child health and welfare. Some examples include:

  • Ante natal and infant development services in partnership with the Primary Care Team, Public Health Nurse team and youth and community services

  • Cross sectoral and multi disciplinary training and capacity building in Infant Mental Health (including practitioners from Psychology, Social Work, Assessment and Early Intervention, Temple Street)

  • Parent and community capacity building to support healthy development of babies and toddlers (Parent and Baby Circles; Baby Ballymun workshops; Infant Massage; Talk and Play,  Hanen 'You make the difference').  More information on Ready, Steady, Grow service

  • Active support in quality standards and curriculum across 7 early years centres with a focus on language development, social and emotional wellbeing and school readiness.  More information on Learning Years service.

  • Integrated supports to children's social and emotional development for parents, children and teachers.  The Parent Programme has particular objectives to improve parental mental health and reduce stress.  More information on the Incredible Years service

  • Language, literacy and learning supports for all school age children, capacity building programme with whole school staff in  primary schools, and a wide range of parent and community initiatives.  More information on Write Minded service.