Sir, – Fintan O’Toole correctly outlines in his piece as part of the post-pandemic Ireland (News Review, March 13th) that investment in early childhood reaps rewards for the State in later years in terms of savings and, importantly, helps the State meet its responsibility in relation to vulnerable children.
However, some children need support throughout childhood and into early adulthood. Similarly, their parents will also need support.
These children, and their parents, have often been exposed to adverse childhood experiences such as inappropriate care-giving and chaotic home environments in which there are significant levels of unpredictable, persistent and toxic stress.
This can be exacerbated by poverty, poor mental health, domestic abuse and substance misuse.
It is incumbent on the State to provide services for these children that enable them to feel valued and cared for, and to receive the support that will help them to develop positive expectations for themselves and their lives. Likewise, parents need support to address their own issues and to develop the parenting skills they need to raise their children in happy, stable and loving environments.
If we were to achieve inroads to the provision of such services in a post-pandemic Ireland, something positive with substantial long-term benefits would have come out of this bleak period. – Yours, etc,