Sir, – I would like to join Dr Sheila Gilheany (Letters, May 9th) in her praise of Sheila Wayman's insightful article on adverse childhood experiences ("Lifelong impact of adverse childhood experiences is a message for us all", Health + Family, May 4th).
There is no greater return on Government investment than the payback from investment in parenthood and early childhood across the lifecourse of the child.
As we, hopefully, exit the pandemic, we are faced with a wide range of needs: those children and families already being impacted by adversity and inequality before the pandemic, children and families for whom the pandemic has been a seriously adverse and often traumatic experience, children and families who are faced with homelessness and those children and families seeking refuge in Ireland from the war in Ukraine, as well as from war and oppression elsewhere in the world.
These are all adverse experiences that can cause toxic stress for children and young people. That is why understanding the science behind adverse childhood experiences, as Sheila Wayman’s article set out in such an accessible manner, means we can no longer turn away from these issues. If we do, we are setting children up for preventable and costly health and wellbeing issues in later life.
This discussion is particularly timely as it coincides with the publication of the Department of Children’s Supporting Parents National Model for Parenting Support Services (April 27th) and Tusla’s Parenting Support Strategy (May 9th). It is now vital that we implement these strategies and invest in children and parents so that we can take steps to prevent as many adverse childhood experiences as possible and to respond early and effectively to those we cannot prevent.
Every child deserves the best possible start in life. – Yours, etc,
Early Intervention Network