Family support projects announced
Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Frances Fitzgerald (left) attending the High level conference on Vulnerable Families, in Dublin Castle today. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times
The most deprived communities in the State are to be invited to apply for intensive family support projects in their areas given the success of similar programmes piloted in Dublin over the past five years.
The Minister for Children, Frances Fitzgerald, made the announcement at a conference in Dublin today discussing how best to support at-risk families.
She said the evident success of the three area-based programmes - in Ballymun, Darndale and Tallaght - was such that the Department wanted to replicate them in three new locations before the end of the year.
The existing projects, known as Prevention and Early Intervention Programme for Children (PEIP), have been co-funded by the State and Atlantic Philanthropies and cost €36 million.
“Learning [from the existing projects]..will be used to support families in these areas to provide the best chance in life for young children,” said Ms Fitzgerald.
They have targeted mothers, babies and young children even before birth, with such supports as advice, parenting classes, early interventions, literacy support and mental health supports.”
A spokeswoman said the Department was to chair a project group with input from relevant departments and agencies to establish criteria for inclusion in the programme. Communities would then be invited to make submissions and the three localities for investment would be identified “before the end of the year”.
Asked how they would be funded, given that Atlantic Philanthropies is planning to end grant-making in Ireland by the end of 2016, she said: “It is envisaged that the projects will be co-funded with a philanthropic organisation.”
The conference "Vulnerable Families - What Can Europe Do?" continues at Dublin Castle tomorrow. It is being held here as part of Ireland’s Presidency of the EU and is co-hosted by the Confederation of Family Organisations in the European Union (COFACE) and the Irish Country Woman’s Association.